Friday, 19 September 2008

House building (again)

A few weeks back, I wrote about the fact that the most recent housebuilding figures didn't bode well for long term affordability. David Orr, the chief executive of the National Housing Federation is set to talk about this today - he suggests that the government target of three million new homes in England by 2020 is "almost impossible" to meet. To help, they want more spending by government and faster planning decisions.

Its difficult to see how either of either of these measures can make a significant difference. £400m pounds from CLG will help pay for 5,500 homes over the next 18 months. Mr Orr is predicting a shortfall of 1.4m homes ...

Faster planning will help to some extent, but not if planners still end up saying no to housing. As I've discussed elsewhere, addressing such anti-house building sentiment will require more imaginative ways to ensure that communities are actually willing to accept new housing.

[PS: The post that I just referred to was concerned with rural housing. One of the issues that always crops up there is the "problem" of second homes. So, I was interested to see that CLG's latest report on Housing in England (published yesterday) had some figures on this. In the last decade, the number of second homes increased by roughly 40,000 to 241,000. While this might cause a problem for a small number of selected rural communities, its hard to see this as a major issue for housing affordability in the UK as a whole.]

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