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Survey questions UK’s ability to deliver 200,000 new homes a year

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A majority of housebuilders believe that delivering more than 180,000 homes a year is not sustainable under current market conditions, according to a new survey.

The finding calls into question the ability of any political party to accelerate housebuilding to match demand estimated at 230,000 homes a year. In the 12 months to April 2014, just 141,000 new homes were built in the UK.

In its Gaining Ground Housebuilding Report 2015, property firm Knight Frank quizzed 160 housebuilders and developers across the country for their views on the extent to which the industry can gear up to meet the demand for new homes.

While 67 percent of respondents said delivering up to 180,000 new homes a year was feasible under current conditions, just 24 per cent indicated that between 180,000 and 200,000 new homes could be built. Only 9 per cent said that more than 200,000 was achievable.

Gráinne Gilmore, Knight Frank’s head of UK residential research, said a key message from respondents was that better-resourced planning departments at local authorities would help to speed up the development process.

‘Housing starts data, and the results of our survey, suggest that housebuilding will continue to gain momentum in the years to come, although it is unlikely to approach levels targeted by the main political parties in the short to medium term,’ she said.

Other findings from the survey were that three in five respondents expected to increase their housing delivery over the next 12 months, with one third of those saying they expected numbers to increase by 10 per cent or more.

Additionally, many respondents expected land prices to rise over the next year, with a quarter indicating a rise of up to 5 per cent and a quarter a rise of 5 per cent to 10 per cent for greenfield land.

The Labour Party manifesto for the general election pledged to increase housebuilding to at least 200,000 new homes a year by 2020. The Liberal Democrats pledged a figure of 300,000.

The Conservative Party took a different tack, pledging a range of brownfield housing targets and new council-house funding, but not setting an overall national target for new-home delivery.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Michael Bach

    Successive commentators have repeated the mantra that "we need to change the planning system" without understanding that the consents exist but the house builders are not building. The coalition Government have bent over backwards for the house builders and they have gratefully accepted it all but have failed to deliver. Now they need to get tough with the industry, but then they will tell us about the capacity problems!!

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