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15/11/2019

9% increase in net dwellings

Words: Laura Edgar
New builds / Shutterstock_403894639

New government statistics have shown that annual housing supply in England amounted to 241,130 net additional dwellings in 2018/19, up from 222,190 in 2017/18.

This is an increase of 9 per cent.

The 241,130 net additions breaks down to:

  • 213,660 new-build homes;
  • 29,260 gains from change of use between non-domestic and residential;
  • 5,220 gains from conversions between houses and flats; and
  • 940 other gains (caravans or house boats, for example).

Of the change of use additions, 14,107 were through permitted development rights: 12,032 former offices, 883 agricultural buildings, 199 storage buildings, 69 light industrial buildings and 924 from other non-domestic buildings.

The total additions were offset by 7,940 demolitions.


Reaction:

Andy Sommerville, Director at Search Acumen, commented: “The net increase in housing stock could be seen as a proxy barometer for the nation’s economic outlook. You don’t have to be a meteorologist to know we aren’t in the sunlit uplands, but rays of sunshine are starting to break through.”

He noted that since the economic downturn, additional housing supply has been rising, while the 2017/18 dip seems to have been overcome.

“Fortunately, the government has also woken up to the need to address Britain’s housing shortage in part through technological innovation. This includes implementing data-driven solutions to enable housebuilders to better identify the best areas to build on. We may not be home and dry yet, but at least we stand a better chance of getting a roof over our heads.”

Although he welcomed the increase, Matt Thomson, head of land use and planning at the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), questioned how many of the additional homes “are affordable to the people who need them, are of a standard that people would want to live in, or will even be occupied on a permanent basis by anybody”.

“The figures also only present one side of the story, demonstrating progress with one government objective – the provision of 300,000 new homes per year by the mid-2020s – but ignoring many other commitments. These include meeting real people’s needs for quality housing and a planning process that puts local people back in control.”

Therefore, Thomson called on all parties to include in their election manifestos a commitment to ensure that the planning system is well resourced and that it empowers communities and promotes development that responds to their needs.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation said the numbers show the "huge progress made by the industry as we look to meet the country’s housing need".

"Alongside much needed homes, the increases are boosting local economies up and down the country, creating tens of thousands of new jobs and delivering much needed investment in infrastructure. We need politicians to continue to work with us and develop policies that enable further increases to be delivered. We need to see policies that ensure buyers can buy and that enough land comes forward in the right places quickly and efficiently. We also need to see more support for SME builders and specialist providers to ensure the supply base continues to grow. The industry is absolutely committed to delivering the high quality, environmentally friendly homes that people across the country’s communities need.”


Housing supply; net additional dwellings, England: 2018/19 can be found on the UK Government website (pdf).

Image credit | Shutterstock

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