Construction increase needed to meet UK housing target

A new report by the National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed that a substantial increase in construction is needed if the UK government is to meet its target of building a million new homes by 2020.

Providing an overview of the housing market in England, the Department for Communities and Local Government’s housing strategy and the overall housing policy landscape, the NAO has stated that the need for housing is increasing at a much faster rate than supply, particularly in London.

Projections suggest there will be at least 227,000 new households formed each year between 2011 and 2021, whilst delivery of the government’s million new homes ambition by 2020 will require 174,000 net additions each year.

Additionally, while the report reveals that housing has become more affordable for existing homeowners, it argues that housing has become less affordable for first-time buyers, with social housing rents having increased faster than earnings since 2001-2002. On top of this, homelessness has also been on the rise over the past five years, with 71,500 homeless households recorded at the end of March 2016, compared to 48,000 in 2010-11.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: “The need for housing in England has in recent years grown faster than its supply, and housebuilding needs to increase across the country.The government has responded to this by putting in place a range of policies to increase housing supply and home ownership.

“Central to this is an ambition to increase the supply of housing by one million homes by 2020, largely through support to private housebuilders. Delivery of this target will not require a substantial increase in current levels of housebuilding.”