Building more homes

This content applies to England only.


Shelter believes the solution to England’s housing crisis lies in building more homes. The government has said that building more homes is a priority and Shelter is campaigning to ensure that the right actions are taken to build the homes we need.

Successive governments have failed to get on top of our housing crisis. Years of insufficient investment in building new homes has left many people unable to buy or rent the homes they need to get on in life. The government needs to continue thinking innovatively to make sure that this generation and the next aren’t denied a stable and affordable home.

Why more homes are needed

Supply of new homes is failing to keep pace with demand

England is currently suffering from a huge housing shortage, especially in terms of affordable homes. This shortage is due to the fact that low rates of house building over several decades have failed to keep up with increasing demand, as the number of households increases. Large amounts of social housing stock have also been sold off under the Right to Buy and not replaced.

The current crisis

With new housing supply failing to keep pace with demand, housing costs have risen rapidly, sparking an affordability crisis. Large numbers of people have found themselves priced out of buying or even renting a home. This problem is particularly acute for young people and those on low or average incomes, who are unable to get a foot on the property ladder or afford their rent.

In England:

  • More than 75,000 households were found to be homeless by local authorities in 2011/12. [1]
  • At the end of June 2012, 51,640 homeless households were living in temporary accommodation in England. [2]
  • There are currently more than 400,000 households living in overcrowded conditions. [3]

England’s housing situation has reached crisis proportions. We desperately need more homes now.

Delivering the homes people want

It is critical that any new homes built benefit new residents and existing communities alike. This means building the right kind of homes, in the right places, with the right infrastructure. At present, there is a shortage of decent, family-sized accommodation, but England needs more homes in all sizes - for sale, for rent and for intermediate tenures like shared ownership.

Shelter understands that new homes must be desirable places to live. We want to avoid repeating mistakes of the 1960s and 1970s where the quality of housing developments was sometimes sacrificed in a drive to build homes quickly. New developments must include the necessary supporting infrastructure and services to create thriving communities. They should be well-designed, attractive, spacious and efficient to heat and maintain.

Campaign demands

We want national and local government to prioritise building more homes and to work with housing associations, private developers and investors and communities to ensure that priority becomes action. The government should adopt the following measures:

  • Increase capital investment in new affordable housing provision and infrastructure
  • Provide investment guarantees to housing associations
  • Make effective use of public land to support affordable housebuilding
  • Use all money raised from Right to Buy sales to invest in new homes locally
  • Use levies raised from changes to stamp duty and capital gains tax to help ordinary families get a home
  • Make it easier for local councils to build homes
  • Make it easier for alternative methods of housebuilding, such as Community Land Trusts and self-build, to make a real contribution
  • Ensure that a decent proportion of new homes are suitable for families, for older people and for other specific groups

[1] Statutory Homelessness Statistics, Communities and Local Government 2012.
[2] Statutory Homelessness Statistics, Communities and Local Government, 2012.
[3] English Housing Survey 2010/11, Communities and Local Government, 2012.

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