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London needs 800,000 new homes by 2021

London needs an extra 809,000 homes by 2021, according to the body flying the flag for the capital’s 33 local authorities

Think tank and lobby group London Councils has warned that the capital’s ‘future prosperity is in doubt unless steps are taken to build nearly a million homes’.

More than 525,000 new homes will need to be built in London over the next eight years to keep up with current demand - yet current projections suggestion just 250,000 will be constructed by 2021.

In addition an estimated 283,000 homes are required to meet the current backlog of housing need.

Current housing supply levels suggest that there will be a deficit of 559,000 homes by 2021.

Steve Bullock, London Councils’ executive member for housing, said: ‘The news that London needs almost a million homes by 2021 is a scandal - the last time we faced such an acute housing supply crisis was after the Second World War. This is a long time coming and the capital’s future prosperity is on the line.

‘Rising housing costs are not only a problem for those struggling to rent but for any Londoner wishing to buy their own home. If the housing crisis is not solved, costs for the London economy will continue to spiral. More working families will struggle to rent and to buy, more people could be forced out of the capital and homelessness is very likely to go up.’

London Councils suggests that housing would be boosted by lifting the borrowing cap which prevents local councils from investing in housing, increasing investment in the rental sector, supporting small builders, and promoting sustainable development near to the tube network.

The report, released today (16 September) suggests 134,000 new homes could be built if these suggested measures are taken forward.

Last week the Town and County Planning Association (TCPA) suggested the scale of housing demand significantly outstrips supply. According to their report around 245,000 new homes are needed every year across the UK, with around 60 per cent of this demand in the southern regions.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Whennever this topic comes up there is always one thing that springs to mind. Particularly when we say there isn't enough council homes, we must allow councils to build more and borrow more to do it to add to the investment the private sector is putting in etc etc, the rhetoric we've all heard. What about the suspending the rent to buy scheme? If we really have a crisis with council homes as much as 'affordable' private homes to buy and rent, plug the drip of houses leaving the public sector at the other end, then build more council homes, and you may end up with a reasonable number of 'affordable' renting options in the city providing the private sector continue to provide innovative and affordable housing solutions.

    But it never makes any sense to me, that when an article or a person suggests councils should build more housing, that they also never attack them for selling their existing stock at the same time.

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  • There are 22.0 million private homes in the UK serving a population of 60.5 million people. On that basis there are 2.75 people per house. If London requires 809,000 homes by 2021 this means that the current bed space shortfall plus the expected increase in population over the next 8 years is approximately 2 ¼ million people. Taking the report at face value, if all the funding and policies are put in place then the most optimistic prediction means that of those people some 368,500 will be housed by the London Councils. This means that nearly 1.9million people will need to be housed by other means. Say we are lucky and 10% of these people are accommodated by extensions and alterations to existing housing stock in London, and another 10% are accommodated outside London by improvements to existing housing stock and commute in, there are still 1.5 million people unaccounted for. Now we look at brown field sites within the M25, let’s be cautious and say that there are enough viable sites to house a further 500,000 people in 200,000 new privately funded homes for sale or build to lets developments. We are still left with 1 million people to house - we need to build two whole new cities the size of Bristol within commuting distance of London. Perhaps 4 smaller cities, north, south, east and west of London. Given that cross rail will be complete I would suggest one to the west near Maidenhead or Reading and another near Shenfield or further out into Essex, or close to the M11, Stevenage could be expanded to the north and Crawley to the south. Let’s get busy…

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