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Member Briefing: HBF report on 30,000 new homes excluded from Government statistics

Date: 19/09/16

HBF report on 30,000 new homes excluded from Government statistics

You may have seen media reports today of a new HBF publication analysing the true level of housing supply and the inaccuracies of Government’s primary measure of house building.

The report, Ghost Towns, details how the Department for Communities and Local Government’s ‘House Building statistics’ are undercounting new home completions by 30,000 homes per year – one in five homes actually built in 2014/15.

The true level of housing supply is presented in the Net Supply of Housing data series, also published by DCLG. The new build component of supply in 2014/15 was 155,000, contributing to overall housing supply of 181,000.

This means that in each year, the statistics are under-reporting delivery by the equivalent of a town the size of Stevenage. Over the course of a parliament in which the Government is targeting one million new homes, the discrepancy would grow to cover a city the size of Newcastle or Nottingham.

An overview of the report, and the publication itself can be found here, along with a summary of where the ‘lost’ homes are. For example:

  • 5,850 new build completions in London are excluded from statistics
  • 1,290 new homes in Birmingham (two-thirds of all new build)
  • 920 homes in Liverpool (63% of all new build completions)

In all, 246 local authority areas (75% of areas) see house building levels undercounted in the official ‘house building’ data series. A list of these areas, along with the shortfalls, can be found here.

The publication is intended to highlight the progress that has been made in increasing housing supply and ensure that debates around future delivery and industry output are based on accurate statistics.

If you would like more information on the report please get in touch.


David O’Leary

Policy Director