LGA: New homes data positive, but still failing to meet growing housing need

New figures released by the government have shown that the number of new build homes has continued to rise to its highest level since 2007, but council leaders have warned that the rate of builds is failing to keep up with rising demand.  

However, responding to the government’s report, the LGA warned that there is considerable work to be done to build enough houses to cater for a growing population.

The data reported that 153,370 new homes were started in December 2016, up 5% from the previous year, and that 140,500 homes were completed.

Commenting on the data, housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell MP said: “We’ve got the country building again with the highest number of housing starts for nine years. However, we know there’s more to be done to build more homes in the places that people want to live.

Our housing white paper sets out an ambitious sets of proposals to deliver more land, speed up build out, diversify the housing market and support more people who need help now.”

Commenting on the figures, the LGA voiced concern that the report is proof that councils need additional government support to keep up with housing demand.  

Cllr Martin Tett, housing spokesman at the LGA, said: “Between 220,000 and 250,000 homes a year need to be built to meet growing housing need. The private sector clearly has an important role to play but these figures clearly show that they cannot build the number of homes we need on its own.

“Councils are well-placed to plug the housing gap and want to get on with the job of building the new homes that people in their areas desperately need. A renaissance in housebuilding by councils is needed if we are to stand any chance of solving our housing crisis.

Cllr Tett also emphasised the importance of councils being given the ability to borrow to invest in housing and to keep 100% of the receipts from properties sold through Right to Buy to replace homes and reinvest in building more genuinely affordable homes.

The news comes after the government hailed a “solid” year for social housing last week, a claim that the National Audit Office have refuted with their research that showed how social housing was failing to keep pace with need.

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