Shortage worsens as new homes soar
By Charles Clover, Environment Editor
Last Updated: 2:36am GMT 19/03/2007
Higher-than-expected numbers of EU immigrants and more people living alone will make the shortage of new homes in England worse over the next 20 years, according to the latest Government figures.
Figures from the Department of Communities and Local Government show 4.8 million new households are expected to form in England between 2004 and 2006, requiring 223,000 new homes a year to accommodate them.
This is an increase of 24,000 a year on previous estimates and brings to 64,000 the annual shortfall in home completions.
The increase is mainly because of unexpectedly high immigration from the rest of Europe, particularly Poland and seven other new EU member states.
Immigration represented 31 per cent of the reason for all household growth in England the last time projections were published in 2003. It now represents 33 per cent, almost exactly a third.
Some 70 per cent of household growth is still generated from within the country, with the big driver still the move to one-person households, as marriages split up and people live longer.
There will be some slackening-off of demand for housing in the South-East and conservationists might question whether the millions of homes the Government is expecting to force into the South-East are being built in the right place now the regeneration of the economy in the North proceeds apace. Places such as York and Leeds now have house prices comparable to those in London.
Yvette Cooper, the Housing Minister, said: “These figures show why it's right to build more homes to meet the needs of the next generation. We have a growing population with people living longer and more of us are living alone.
“These figures show the need for more homes is not restricted to London or the South-East.
“Increases in jobs and economic prosperity across the Midlands and the North are increasing demand for housing nationwide.
Stewart Baseley, chairman of the Home Builders Federation said: “These projections show the critical need for local authorities to bring land forward for development and increase the flow of planning permissions.”