Council house-building at highest level since 1990

The Royal Town Planning Institute has estimated that over 13,000 new homes were delivered by English local authorities last year, the highest level since 1990.

At least 9,000 homes directly created by local authorities in England in 2017-2018, based on figures supplied by 83 English councils to an online survey. Of these, 42 per cent are affordable homes and 23 per cent are social.

The RTPI study also found that much of this building activity has been delivered through companies wholly or jointly owned by councils, with 78 per cent of local authorities now owning a housing or property company. Of those councils without a housing company, 20 per cent are considering establishing one.

Ian Tant, RTPI president, said: “Having local authorities back as key players in the housing market is vital to tackling the housing crisis. It’s great news that they are becoming more active again, delivering a wide range of house types to meet a wide range of needs. But the lack of land is still a major issue. The government needs to help councils access land at the right price to develop themselves or sell to earn the income they need. The government should also consider a more direct role in increasing supply and influencing the location of housing.”