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England ‘should be building over 310,000 homes a year’

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The nation needs to more than double its new housing delivery over the next five years if it is to meet demand and make up for previous undersupply, according to new research

A report, How Many Homes, co-authored by London School of Economics professor of housing Christine Whitehead has found that England requires a long-term average of 220,000 new homes a year between 2011 and 2031.

Last year 124,520 new homes were built in England, the highest number since 2008-9.

In the short term, Whitehead and co-author Neil McDonald said more than 310,000 new homes would be needed every year between now and 2020 if the nation is to get back on track. That level would deliver about 1.5 million new homes in England during the current parliament.

Last month, housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis said the government was aiming to deliver 1 million new homes over that period.

The last time housebuilding in England exceeded 200,000 homes a year was 1988-89.

The report says 55 per cent of the new housing would be required in London and the South East.

Kate Henderson, chief executive of  lobby group the Town and Country Planning Association, which sponsored the report, said the figures should be a ‘wake-up call’ for ministers.

She said: ‘[They have] already fallen behind on their targets for house building, and this is now having a devastating effect on young people.

‘More needs to be done to build the necessary number of high-quality, affordable homes for the people who need them.’

Whitehead warned that if the nation did not instigate a sea change in housing delivery, the consequences could be severe.

She said: ‘One of the biggest concerns is that couples aged between 25 and 34 – at the time when family formation is at its highest – are expected to be less well housed in 2031 than their counterparts  in 2011.

‘If housebuilding cannot be increased at least to the projected levels, other household groups will find themselves in the same boat.’

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