Property News

Councils Already 6 Years Behind Housebuilding Targets

Rose Jinks - November 7, 2018

Councils across the country have fallen more than six years behind their own housebuilding targets, spelling disaster for Britain’s bid to end the housing crisis, according to new research by Project Etopia.

The modular smart homes provider found that development across the country is moving at such a glacial pace that local authorities are, on average, 6.2 years behind the rate of housebuilding needed to hit targets identified as part of the Government’s ten-year plan, ending in 2026.

Councils Already 6 Years Behind Housebuilding Targets

Councils Already 6 Years Behind Housebuilding Targets

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government set out annual housebuilding targets with local authorities up to 2026, published in September 2017.

However, building in 316 local authority areas is set to fall short of housing need by 889,803 homes over the next decade.

Some of these locations (75) are keeping pace with housing requirements, but, just one year in, 241 areas are already in deficit, leaving them 9.2 years behind housebuilding targets on average.

If those councils not building fast enough do not speed up, they will miss their targets to the tune of 1,013,312 homes by 2026, Project Etopia reports.

Of the ten councils that have fallen the furthest behind, it would take until between 2042-60 for all the homes required by 2026 to be built.

Figures show that Southend-on-Sea is by far the worst town or city outside of London for meeting its housebuilding targets, and is set to be 8,405 homes short of what it needs by the end of 2026. If it does not speed up, it will take 34 more years to build that amount of housing stock.

York and Luton are the only other towns and cities that are more than 20 years behind, and all ten councils with the greatest deficits are two decades off the pace on average.

The Project Etopia study found that, even councils with fewer homes to build, such as Gosport, Hampshire, which only needs 238 per year, have been struggling to meet their own housebuilding targets. Gosport is 17 years behind.

For years, councils have been prevented from building new homes themselves, leaving them at the mercy of developers, whose building can be hampered by economic and planning constraints.

However, the Prime Minister announced at the Conservative Party Conference last month that the borrowing cap would be lifted, to encourage local authorities to commission new developments.

Preston, Lancashire was ahead of housing need by the biggest margin, with Scarborough, North Yorkshire and Burnley, Lancashire close behind.

In London, the situation is even worse, reveals Project Etopia. Redbridge is in the worst shape in the whole country – 82.5 years behind its housebuilding targets.

London boroughs are, on average, 19.2 years behind, and those that are in deficit lag their housebuilding targets by 21.4 years. Come 2026, London boroughs are on target to have a shortfall of 429,973 homes.

Joseph Daniels, the CEO of Project Etopia, says: “It is alarming to see so many areas so far behind already. If the pace is not rapidly picked up, we will be in an even deeper black hole in ten years’ time than we are in now.

“Housing need is plain for all to see, but not enough is being done about it. There is an air of complacency — everyone knows we need to build more houses and fast, but not enough decisive action is being taken to ease the crisis.”