LandlordBuyer Reports a 41% Uptick in UK House Building Over Past Decade

Last Updated on: 7th March 2024, 05:47 pm

LandlordBuyer’s latest report indicates a significant 41% uptick in house building across the UK in the last decade, despite the ongoing struggle against housing overcrowding faced by municipal councils.

The report reveals that between January and September 2023, a total of 138,570 new homes were constructed in the UK, marking a 41% increase over the number of homes built during the same period a decade earlier, which was 98,080 from January to September 2013.

Despite this considerable progress in house building, the challenge of overcrowded housing persists, with over 1.1 million households in England and Wales classified as ‘overcrowded’, making up 4% of all households.

The issue is especially severe in city areas such as Birmingham, London, and Leicester, with a greater prevalence among private rental households (7% of households) and social housing tenants (9% of households), compared to those who own their homes (2% of households).

Jason Harris-Cohen, Managing Director of LandlordBuyer, stated, “It’s absolutely essential that we build more new homes, and it’s great to see an uplift in supply over the last decade. While this is positive, we need to look at how the figures break down to establish why we still have a serious issue of overcrowding.”

He continued, “While 153,300 new build homes were started in 2023, only 138,570 were actually completed/built. That means almost 15,000 new homes never made it over the line in the year construction started.”

Harris-Cohen pointed to the shortage of skilled labour and the increased prices of construction materials as significant impediments to the completion of numerous housing projects, advocating for enhanced support from local governments for the construction industry.

He further emphasized the need to reevaluate how new homes are allocated, remarking, “The allocation of new homes also needs scrutiny. Overcrowding is most prevalent in the social housing sector but housing associations and local authorities only gained 32,290 new homes in 2023. Conversely, the private sector gained 106,280 new homes – an out-of-kilter proportion given owner-occupiers were the least likely to suffer overcrowding.”

Harris-Cohen suggested that private landlords could help alleviate the overcrowding crisis.

He added, “New builds are an attractive proposition as they are low maintenance and energy efficient but they have always attracted a price premium. Furthermore, landlords have tended to favour apartments in city centre locations – the locations identified where overcrowding is at its worst. When figures show 7% of private renting households suffer from overcrowding, more houses to rent, rather than a saturation of flats, may help address the issue.”

He concluded by urging developers to offer more incentives to private landlords to invest in family homes, “It does fall on housebuilders, however, to incentivise private landlords in the same way they do owner-occupiers. Legal fees paid, a stamp duty contribution and a furniture pack attached to family homes would help property investors reassess what they purchase and where.”

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