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Housebuilding in capital falls – research

Words: Laura Edgar
Housebuilding / iStock

Research by the Housing & Finance Institute has suggested a fall in the number of homes being built in London, but more being built in the Home Counties.

Rather than attributing this to Brexit, though, the institute suggests its figures indicate a long-term trend of London increasingly being “outgunned” by the rest of the country.

According to the research, about 16,800 new homes were started in the year to March 2017, a big reduction compared with the 23,000 homes started in the previous year to March 2016.

In comparison, more than 24,300 new homes were started in the Home Counties in the year to March 2017 – an increase from 21,500 on the previous year.

Further to this, England as a whole saw nearly 163,000 homes started in the year to March 2017, an increase from around 143,000 on the previous year.

The Housing & Finance Institute said that not only are new home starts in the capital lower now than in 2013, its analysis also suggests that London’s contribution to the overall number of starts in England has decreased from 17 per cent to 10 per cent over the past five years.

The institute wants to see the government employ a two-pronged strategy to keep Britain building into 2018. It suggests that London be given “special measures” to avoid it falling further behind, and greater powers, resources and more support from central government to help the South-East and other regional areas to continue to deliver the homes needed.

Natalie Elphicke, chief executive of the Housing & Finance Institute, said: “Last year the government was warned in Lord Kerslake’s London Housing Commission report that London’s orders for new homes may have peaked in 2015. Just over a year on and that warning has proved correct.

“In contrast, the Home Counties areas are powering ahead on housing numbers. The Home Counties areas have maintained the overall proportion of homes against the overall national increase in numbers – which is impressive.

“The latest figures show that there is no room for complacency as it is not certain that this strong housing growth in the regions is fully embedded across the country.”

Elphicke noted Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s plans for housing, but said the capital needs national support.

“It isn’t right for the government just to leave London to solve its own housing crisis.”

She said Kerslake’s recommendations need to be taken into account. “They should consider taking additional and special measures as set out in that report in order to reverse this decline and ensure that the capital’s housing targets can be met.”

More information on the research can be found on The Housing & Finance Institute website.

Image credit | iStock