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A Million New Homes by 2020

A Million New Homes by 2020

21st September 2015

The government has announced a new target of one million new homes to be built in England by 2020. Housing minister Brandon Lewis made the announcement following a BBC Inside Out investigation which revealed that only 47% of the new houses needed in England over the past four years have actually been built.

The estimated that almost 1 million homes needed to be built between 2011 and 2014. However, the latest figures show that less than half of these were built during this time (457,490 in the four year period). The federation now estimate that around 245,000 new homes will be needed each year in England in the coming years.

Director of policy and external affairs, Gill Payne, explains that: "in some areas, there is a drastic shortage of property causing prices to soar which puts homes out of the reach of many people. Families and young people across the country need genuinely affordable homes so they can put roots down and achieve their dreams of owning a home.”

She continues to say that: "we haven't built enough homes in this country for decades, and if the gap between the number of households forming and the number of new homes being built continues to grow, we are in danger of not being able to house our children."

Numerous factors have been blamed for the failure to build new homes. These include:
-    Planning procedures being too slow
-    A shortage of available land
-    Developers sitting on large plots of empty land instead of building on it
-    A shortage of skilled labour
-    A drop in the number of councils building new homes
-    Developers building new houses more slowly
-    Regulations restricting housing associations have also been blamed

Changes to the National Planning Policy Framework aimed at making the planning process simpler and quicker were introduced in 2012. It is debatable, however, how much of an impact these have had. Although 240,000 planning applications were given detailed permission in 2014 compared with only 158,000 in 2011, this could well be due to the improved economic climate rather than a more streamlined planning process.

Property economist Matthew Pointon added that “by keeping the number of new homes available at any one time low, the price of those houses can be kept high. By building new houses more slowly than necessary, developers can maximise the value of their assets."

What are the solutions?

So what type of homes will we need to build to meet housing shortages over the next 40 years? Academics from The University of Nottingham have been attempting to predict what new houses will look like in 2050. From vertical villages and flat pack houses to eco homes, they have devised alternative schemes to solve future housing problems in England.

Dr Mark Gillott from the university’s Sustainable Tall Buildings Design Lab pointed out that: "we need the ability to provide housing en-masse to make it easier for people to develop, especially on brownfield sites."

The Campaign to Protect Rural England estimates there are enough brownfield areas to accommodate almost 2 million new homes. The decision to grant planning permission for development of brownfield sites remains with local authorities. Housing minister, Brandon Lewis, made it clear that the government would not intervene in this, saying "I trust local people to get that right."

Government schemes such as Help to Buy may further give developers the confidence that their new build homes will be sold but Ms Payne of the National Housing Federation wanted housing associations to build more and to work in partnership with government to do this.

If you have any questions about buying or selling property in the Maidstone area or would like advice about developing a plot of land, speak to Sibley Pares today. Email enquiries@sibleypares.co.uk or call us on 01622 692206.