Housebuilding figures fall

19 November 2009

New figures released today show that we are still not building enough homes to meet demand, Shelter has said. 

The figures show that annual housing starts have dropped 35 per cent from around 127,000 to 83,080 since the September quarter of 2008, and 55 per cent since 2005-6 when starts totalled a high of around 178,000.

Annual housing completions are also down 21 per cent to just over 122,000 over the last 12 months.

If compared with annual calendar year figures, the last time housebuilding dropped below 122,000 was in 1947, when the official number of homes built was 120,860. 

Shelter director of policy and campaigns Kay Boycott, said: 'These figures show we are simply not building enough homes to meet the huge growing need. With a quarter of a million households being formed every year, and more than 1.7 million households on council waiting lists demand is far outstripping supply. 

'This is why we have more than one million children trapped in overcrowded housing, 60,000 families in temporary accommodation and millions facing crippling housing costs.'

Ms Boycott added: 'The recession has had a devastating effect on the building industry, but this and any future government must find ways of making investment in housing a top priority to ensure future generations have a decent affordable home.

'The Government made a huge commitment to kick starting the housing market, but this must be turned from words into homes. Failing to build enough homes means we are storing up social and economic problems for decades.'