Flat lining housing figures show decisive action needed in CSR, says KPMG

Flat lining housing figures show decisive action needed

Jan Crosby, Head of Housing at KPMG, comments on the latest Government house building figures which show that 34,250 homes were started in the three months to September.

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Jan Crosby, Head of Housing at KPMG

Jan Crosby, Head of Housing at KPMG, comments on the latest Government house building figures which show that 34,250 homes were started in the three months to September, an increase of 2% on the previous quarter, but that completions fell to 34,940, a drop of 2% on the three months previous:

“Government house building figures show that annual house building starts totalled 137,490 to September 2015, which was a 1% drop on the previous year. While it could seem churlish to argue over 1%, the real issue here is that the figures have dropped at all when we know we need to build 250,000 homes a year to keep up with demand.

“Of course, recent Government announcements, such as releasing brownfield land and relaxing planning laws will take time to make a difference to the numbers, but with those numbers so low, now is a perfect time to ask whether supply-side reforms have gone far enough. And with the Comprehensive Spending Review next week, both the housing sector and the public will no doubt be hoping more will be done, and not just for those aiming to buy.

“The positive is that within the sector itself there is a real commitment to solving the housing crisis, but in some quarters that positivity is being chipped away as many are finding their hands increasingly bound. Housing associations are a prime example - the Government figures show their number of starts were 10% higher last quarter compared to the previous, and yet the sector has been thrown into turmoil by rent reductions, ‘Pay to Stay’, and the Starter Homes initiative likely to see a key avenue of stock decline.

“At this point and ahead of next Wednesday, I would urge the Government to take a more holistic view of the housing market – we must build the homes that the people of this country need, whatever tenure they are, and that will take much more commitment, thought and strategy if we are to fix this continuing crisis.”

ENDS

 

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