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'Housing crisis' as rising population ramps up pressure on homebuilding

In the 10 fastest-growing areas of England, an average of just three new private homes were built for every 1,000 existing properties last year.

This rises marginally to four in every 1,000 homes when you analyse the 25 fastest-growing areas.

The findings, which are based on Office for National Statistics data and compiled by the Press Association, highlight the significant challenge facing certain areas when it comes to keeping up with housing demand.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, six of the 10 fastest growing areas are found in London.

Tower Hamlets saw the biggest population surge by far, up 4.1% in 2014. Over the same period, one private new build property was added for every 57 homes, which means the private housing stock grew by 1.75%.

In Westminster, the population grew at a slower rate of 2.8%. However, just one private home out of every 909 was a new build here, an increase of 0.11%.

Forest Heath was the fastest growing area outside of London, with an increase of 2.6% last year. It added one new home for every 145, an increase of 0.69%.

This was a far better ration than in Oxford, where the 2.1% population rise was countered by 0.13% rise in private new builds.

Henry Gregg, assistant director of campaigns at the National Housing Federation, said the nation needed to drastically increase its rate of housebuilding

"To keep up with demand for homes in this country we need to be building around 245,000 houses every year. At the moment we're barely even achieving half that," he said.

"There is a housing crisis in England but it looks different in different parts of country. In some areas, there is a drastic shortage causing prices to soar putting housing out of reach of many people. In other places we see communities that are struggling with empty homes, in desperate need of jobs and regeneration.

"What we know is that we desperately need to be building thousands more homes to meet local housing need. Housing associations up and down the country contributed a third of all new homes built last year and have ambitions to work in partnership with government to build 120,000 homes every year."

The five fastest growing areas in London, with private housing growth

1. Tower Hamlets: 4.1% - one in 57

2. Westminster: 2.8% - one in 909

3. Islington: 2.5% - one in 233

4. Hackney: 2.2% - one in 112

5. Camden: 2.2% - one in 238

The five fastest growing areas outside of London, followed by private housing growth

1. Forest Heath: 2.6% - one in 145

2. Coventry: 2.3% - one in 172

3. Oxford: 2.1% - one in 769

4. Exeter: 2.1% - one in 204

5. Aylesbury Vale: 1.9% - one in 90

Responding to the Press Association's findings, Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: "Our efforts have got the country building again - new housing starts are at a seven-year high and almost 800,000 additional homes have been delivered since the end of 2009.

"We have turned around a broken housing market, and our affordable housebuilding efforts are exceeding our ambitions and have delivered more than 260,000 affordable homes in the last five years. This is real progress but we know there is more to do. That's why we are committed to deliver 275,000 extra affordable homes over this parliament - the fastest rate of build for 20 years.

"The Government has already helped more than 200,000 people buy or reserve a home through Government-backed schemes, including Help to Buy, while our ambitious plans for 200,000 Starter Homes across the country will enable young first-time buyers to buy newly-built homes at a 20% discount.

"We are also helping bring back into use more brownfield land for development. We will see planning permissions for homes in place on 90% of suitable brownfield sites by 2020, and we intend to create a £1 billion fund to unlock sites on brownfield land for new homes for hard working families and first time buyers."


From Belfast Telegraph