The UK housing crisis needs a proper solution. Over the past few decades, ruling government parties have made grand housing promises but, each and every time, failed to make them a reality.
Most recently, Boris Johnson’s Tory government has promised to build 300,000 new homes a year, a target they pledged to meet by the ‘mid-2020s’. As we stand just a few years from this deadline, the UK housing market is enduring unfamiliar pressure – the pandemic has created a prolonged surge of demand for homes, especially more spacious homes with outdoor space – which is forcing house prices through the roof. Nationwide, prices have risen by about 10% since March 2020.
An increase in the supply of homes is widely believed to be an essential part of rescuing the UK from this crisis, so when Johnson announced the government would build 300,000 new homes every year, it came as welcome news.
But, the announcement came back in 2017 and the target was due to be reached by 2025. Just a few years away, new research from StripeHomes reveals that, at its current rate of progress, the government will not reach the target until at least 2028.
This is because, to date, the government has barely been able to break the 200,000 homes mark in a single, let alone get anywhere near 300,000.
In fact, the closest they have come to delivering 300,000 homes came all the way back in 2006 when they delivered 223,500. This number took a tumble in the years following the financial crisis of 2007 and, to date, has not been achieved again. The 200,000 mark was only breached again in 2019 when just north of 214,000 homes were delivered.
With the historic rate of progress as a measure, it is predicted that 2020 will have seen 225,000 new houses (the full data for 2020 is yet to be published) which means the government has only been able to increase its output by 1,500 homes in almost 15 years.
James Forrester, Managing Director of StripeHomes, commented:
“The government knows full well how bad the housing situation in the UK is, and they also know that delivering 300,000 new homes every year is a monumental task, not least at a time when global and local economies are in such flux following the pandemic.
“But if we’re waiting until 2028 to reach this much-needed target, we’re waiting far too long, especially when England alone currently has over 93,000 households in temporary accommodation and 1.1 million households currently on the waiting list for a social home.
“Finally, the availability of new homes must also be matched by affordability. Yes, prices will fall slightly if supply is increased, but it’s more about ensuring that homes are built in the areas where they’re most needed and being made easily accessible to those people who need them.”