Jan Crosby, head of housing at KPMG, comments on today’s ONS house building statistics for the period January to March 2016:
“London’s recent Mayoral Election highlighted the concerning on-going housing crisis in the capital, but today’s house building statistics for the first quarter of 2016 should extend that concern country-wide. On a quarterly basis, starts on new homes dropped by three per cent on the previous quarter and by nine per cent on the same quarter in 2015, with completions nine per cent lower than the previous quarter and showing a three per cent decrease on the same quarter last year. While undoubtedly some will point to a 12 per cent rise in completions annually, drops across the board cannot be ignored, especially given annual starts have increased by just one per cent.
“Today’s statistics are down to the fact that not enough is being done to fix the broken housing market. We are still only seeing around 140,000 homes being built per year, over 100,000 less than we need. And at the rental end of the market, the picture is even more worrying – completions by housing associations fell by 24 per cent last quarter on the previous, showing the effect of recent cuts to their revenue streams and a likely knock on to housing some of our society’s most vulnerable.
“While the Government has been pushing ‘Generation Buy’ and the demand side measures - such as Starter Homes and the Help to Buy ISA - to back it up, focus on supply is not where it needs to be. Along with the sector’s calls for changes to planning laws, large-scale release of public land and more investment, more innovative solutions are needed: a holistic approach to infrastructure and housing provision, developments featuring a true mix of multiple tenures, and place-making solutions to create workable developments where people can live, work and play. Hopefully today’s statistics will raise the alarm again and persuade the Government that housing needs to be higher on its agenda.”
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