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Policy & Activities

19 September, 2016

Flawed house building figures ‘lose’ a town the size of Stevenage every year Failures presenting critics with ‘open goal’

The Government’s most publicised measure of house building excludes around a fifth of all new build completions every year, a report released today reveals. The HBF’s Ghost towns report  shows how flawed methodology and poor returns from Local Authorities mean around 30,000 new builds are not counted in the official numbers.

Analysis shows that the ill-termed ‘House Building Statistics’, released on a quarterly and annual basis by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) underreport new build completions in 75% of Local Authorities with an average of 153 new homes ‘lost’ in each of those areas.

More than half of new build homes in areas such as Birmingham, Liverpool, Leicester, Salford and many London Boroughs are completely unaccounted for in the quarterly series. As a result, a town equivalent to the size of Stevenage is being ‘lost’ every year, or, over the course of a Parliament, in which Government is targeting a million homes, a city larger than Nottingham, Coventry or Newcastle simply vanishes.

The confusingly named ‘Net Supply of Housing ‘data series, which is only published once a year and is drawn from more reliable sources more closely linked to the numbers Local Authorities use for determining their Council Tax Base show that more than 181,000 homes were added to the housing stock in 2014/15 – the last numbers available – of which 155,000 were new build, up 20% year on year.

At a time when the house building industry is rapidly increasing output, largely as a result of some significant Government policy successes the shortfall is presenting industry and Government critics, and those opposed to development generally, with ammunition to criticise.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation said:

“Housebuilding has increased significantly in recent years but the continual publication and use of inaccurate statistics is painting a negative picture that is undermining the progress being made in tackling the housing shortage. The Government's housing policies and the industry are delivering, and it is incredibly frustrating that official statistics are not reflecting what is happening on the ground but instead presenting an open goal for critics."

The published data excluded:

  • At least 75% the London Boroughs of Brent, Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea,
  • 1,280 new homes in Birmingham (two-thirds of all new build completions)
  • 920 new homes in Liverpool (63% of all new build completions)
  • 640 new homes in Salford (half of all new build completions)
  • 570 new homes in Leicester (6 out of 10 new build completions)
  • 570 new homes in Sheffield (40% of all new build completions)
  • 400 new homes in Chester West & Chester (29% of all new build completions)

The report also puts forward additional reliable indicators of housing delivery, including the official Council Tax Base statistics, counting net additional homes at a later point in the year than that covered by the Net Supply statistics, and the issuance of Energy Performance Certificates for new build properties. Both report that construction levels vastly outstripping the wildly inaccurate ‘House Building Statistics’.

-        ENDS   -

For media enquiries, or to arrange an interview, please contact Steve Turner on 020 7960 1606 or 07919 307760. Steve.turner@hbf.co.uk     

Notes to editors

  1.  The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the representative body of the home building industry in England and Wales. The HBF’s member firms account for some 80% of all new homes built in England and Wales in any one year, and include companies of all sizes, ranging from multi-national, household names through regionally based businesses to small local companies: www.hbf.co.uk
  2. DCLG’s ‘house building’ statistics under-report housing delivery in 243 local authorities across England. The more accurate statistics included in the Net Supply of Housing data series shows how, in some areas, as much as 8 out of every 10 new build housing completions is going uncounted in official statistics.

Area

Completions reported by DCLG 'House Building' Series

New Build completions from DCLG Net Supply Series

Percentage of new homes excluded

Number of homes excluded

England

124,520

155,080

20%

30,560

Birmingham

660

1,940

66%

1,280

Brent

310

1,560

80%

1,250

Liverpool

550

1,470

63%

920

Lewisham

490

1,390

65%

900

Hammersmith and Fulham

210

1,070

80%

860

Kensington and Chelsea

180

1,010

82%

830

Wandsworth

240

960

75%

720

Salford

670

1,310

49%

640

Leicester

380

950

60%

570

Sheffield

850

1,420

40%

570

Sandwell

370

860

57%

490

Manchester

900

1,370

34%

470

Ealing

390

830

53%

440

City of Bristol

460

900

49%

440

Gateshead

220

650

66%

430

Warwick

160

560

71%

400

Peterborough UA

770

1,170

34%

400

Cheshire West and Chester UA

970

1,370

29%

400

Bury

140

520

73%

380

Bexley

380

760

50%

380

Coventry

710

1,090

35%

380

Basildon

320

690

54%

370

Cheshire East

890

1,250

29%

360

Kingston upon Hull

510

860

41%

350

Cornwall UA

1,880

2,230

16%

350

Newham

1,560

1,890

17%

330

Swale

160

480

67%

320

South Norfolk

600

910

34%

310

Nottingham

180

480

63%

300

Hillingdon

240

530

55%

290

Mid Sussex

380

660

42%

280

Milton Keynes

1,070

1,350

21%

280

Reading

80

350

77%

270

Dudley

390

660

41%

270

East Riding of Yorkshire

400

660

39%

260

Shropshire UA

670

930

28%

260

Brighton and Hove

150

400

63%

250

Selby

340

590

42%

250

Hackney

920

1,170

21%

250

Fenland

330

570

42%

240

Kingston upon Thames

170

400

58%

230

Sefton

280

510

45%

230

Vale of White Horse

440

670

34%

230

Southwark

1,050

1,280

18%

230

West Oxfordshire

130

350

63%

220

Ipswich

220

440

50%

220

St. Helens

340

560

39%

220

Stratford-on-Avon

410

630

35%

220

Uttlesford

270

480

44%

210

Tewkesbury

360

570

37%

210

Doncaster

580

790

27%

210

Aylesbury Vale

1,100

1,310

16%

210

Harrow

100

300

67%

200

Solihull

430

630

32%

200

Cherwell

570

770

26%

200

Bradford

750

950

21%

200

Croydon

930

1,130

18%

200

Calderdale

220

410

46%

190

Medway

300

490

39%

190

Nuneaton and Bedworth

220

400

45%

180

Isle of Wight

330

510

35%

180

Newcastle-under-Lyme

350

530

34%

180

North East Derbyshire

100

270

63%

170

Swindon

370

540

31%

170

North Somerset

430

600

28%

170

Taunton Deane

580

750

23%

170

Barking and Dagenham

800

970

18%

170

Halton

310

470

34%

160

Herefordshire Unitary Authority

310

470

34%

160

Stoke-on-Trent

320

480

33%

160

Malvern Hills

90

240

63%

150

Shepway

110

260

58%

150

Staffordshire Moorlands

140

290

52%

150

West Berkshire

320

470

32%

150

North Tyneside

340

490

31%

150

East Hertfordshire

340

490

31%

150

South Cambridgeshire

720

870

17%

150

Cheltenham

70

210

67%

140

Rushmoor

110

250

56%

140

South Staffordshire

130

270

52%

140

Preston

160

300

47%

140

North East Lincolnshire

180

320

44%

140

Wirral

260

400

35%

140

Westminster

300

440

32%

140

East Lindsey

310

450

31%

140

Stroud

440

580

24%

140

Cannock Chase

120

250

52%

130

West Lancashire

220

350

37%

130

Wellingborough

240

370

35%

130

Wigan

340

470

28%

130

South Somerset

560

690

19%

130

Central Bedfordshire

1,310

1,440

9%

130

Gravesham

50

170

71%

120

Rutland UA

130

250

48%

120

Worthing

240

360

33%

120

Newark and Sherwood

250

370

32%

120

East Staffordshire

250

370

32%

120

West Lindsey

260

380

32%

120

Mendip

460

580

21%

120

Knowsley

480

600

20%

120

East Devon

920

1,040

12%

120

Barnet

1,180

1,300

9%

120

Rossendale

110

220

50%

110

Braintree

230

340

32%

110

Broadland

270

380

29%

110

Scarborough

280

390

28%

110

Worcester

290

400

28%

110

Wolverhampton

450

560

20%

110

Wealden

510

620

18%

110

North Hertfordshire

60

160

63%

100

Sutton

210

310

32%

100

Dover

220

320

31%

100

Ashford

250

350

29%

100

Kirklees

360

460

22%

100

Havant

390

490

20%

100

Sedgemoor

410

510

20%

100

Chelmsford

460

560

18%

100

Wokingham

510

610

16%

100

Sevenoaks

110

200

45%

90

Welwyn Hatfield

180

270

33%

90

Hambleton

190

280

32%

90

Rochdale

220

310

29%

90

Mid Devon

230

320

28%

90

Tameside

340

430

21%

90

Maidstone

440

530

17%

90

Arun

460

550

16%

90

Warrington UA

580

670

13%

90

Walsall

670

760

12%

90

Chesterfield

100

180

44%

80

St Albans

120

200

40%

80

Trafford

170

250

32%

80

Ryedale

190

270

30%

80

Tunbridge Wells

200

280

29%

80

Wyre

200

280

29%

80

Blaby

320

400

20%

80

Darlington

330

410

20%

80

Ashfield

370

450

18%

80

Basingstoke and Deane

380

460

17%

80

Charnwood

630

710

11%

80

Wychavon

750

830

10%

80

Test Valley

790

870

9%

80

Plymouth UA

800

880

9%

80

Hyndburn

40

110

64%

70

Oadby and Wigston

50

120

58%

70

Oxford

50

120

58%

70

Rushcliffe

190

260

27%

70

Stafford

280

350

20%

70

Forest of Dean

310

380

18%

70

South Tyneside

330

400

18%

70

Torridge

340

410

17%

70

Slough

360

430

16%

70

South Ribble

400

470

15%

70

East Hampshire

480

550

13%

70

Chorley

630

700

10%

70

Wakefield

1,030

1,100

6%

70

Brentwood

60

120

50%

60

Christchurch

80

140

43%

60

North Dorset

130

190

32%

60

Watford

130

190

32%

60

Harrogate

140

200

30%

60

Amber Valley

170

230

26%

60

Portsmouth UA

250

310

19%

60

Canterbury

260

320

19%

60

Rugby

330

390

15%

60

Cotswold

370

430

14%

60

St Edmundsbury

370

430

14%

60

Dartford

470

530

11%

60

Newcastle upon Tyne

610

670

9%

60

Telford and Wrekin UA

1,030

1,090

6%

60

Epsom and Ewell

110

160

31%

50

Erewash

140

190

26%

50

Rochford

240

290

17%

50

Suffolk Coastal

350

400

13%

50

Reigate and Banstead

370

420

12%

50

Northampton

620

670

7%

50

Colchester

650

700

7%

50

Chiltern

60

100

40%

40

Tandridge

100

140

29%

40

North Warwickshire

140

180

22%

40

Redditch

230

270

15%

40

North Lincolnshire UA

270

310

13%

40

Derby UA

290

330

12%

40

Daventry

300

340

12%

40

Wyre Forest

300

340

12%

40

Bolton

310

350

11%

40

Hart

320

360

11%

40

South Northamptonshire

320

360

11%

40

Middlesbrough UA

430

470

9%

40

Windsor and Maidenhead UA

490

530

8%

40

Northumberland UA

1,190

1,230

3%

40

Maldon

30

60

50%

30

Richmond upon Thames

40

70

43%

30

Surrey Heath

50

80

38%

30

Blackpool UA

70

100

30%

30

Broxtowe

70

100

30%

30

Stevenage

90

120

25%

30

Islington

100

130

23%

30

New Forest

120

150

20%

30

Craven

120

150

20%

30

Forest Heath

130

160

19%

30

Luton UA

140

170

18%

30

East Dorset

150

180

17%

30

Castle Point

180

210

14%

30

Lichfield

200

230

13%

30

North Devon

250

280

11%

30

South Lakeland

270

300

10%

30

North Norfolk

290

320

9%

30

Tonbridge and Malling

450

480

6%

30

Stockton-on-Tees UA

460

490

6%

30

Bath and North East Somerset UA

490

520

6%

30

Barrow-in-Furness

60

80

25%

20

Richmondshire

70

90

22%

20

Adur

70

90

22%

20

Hastings

100

120

17%

20

High Peak

110

130

15%

20

Southend-on-Sea UA

140

160

13%

20

Broxbourne

140

160

13%

20

Norwich

170

190

11%

20

Waverley

180

200

10%

20

Blackburn with Darwen UA

190

210

10%

20

Fylde

190

210

10%

20

Eastleigh

260

280

7%

20

Poole UA

280

300

7%

20

Thanet

300

320

6%

20

Ribble Valley

300

320

6%

20

Bracknell Forest UA

320

340

6%

20

Dacorum

320

340

6%

20

Exeter

350

370

5%

20

Breckland

470

490

4%

20

Waveney

110

120

8%

10

Lincoln

130

140

7%

10

Rother

160

170

6%

10

Crawley

160

170

6%

10

Gosport

170

180

6%

10

Bassetlaw

190

200

5%

10

York UA

200

210

5%

10

Bolsover

240

250

4%

10

Chichester

410

420

2%

10

East Northamptonshire

430

440

2%

10

South Oxfordshire

440

450

2%

10

Gloucester

470

480

2%

10

Waltham Forest

550

560

2%

10

South Gloucestershire UA

1,220

1,230

1%

10

 

HBF Ghost Towns Report - Sept 2016
(Size: 767 K, Type: pdf, last modified: 07.03.17)

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