24 Mar, 2014


decade on from seminal report, shortage equal to no. of homes in Birmingham

Exactly a decade on from the seminal Barker Review of Housing Supply that warned that at least 210,000 private homes a year were needed in England to avert a housing crisis, the scale of the housing shortage has become apparent.

In the 10 years since the warning was made, in a report for the then Labour Government, an average of just 115,000 homes a year have been built, meaning the country is now 1 million homes short of what was needed to adequately  house its population and prevent a worsening affordability crisis.

To put this into perspective, this shortfall is now equivalent to the number of homes in Birmingham and the surrounding areas

Based on Kate Barker’s original estimates and population changes since then, a new report from the Home Builders Federation now estimates that:

Achieving Barker’s objective of ‘Reducing the long-term trend’ and gradually pricing households back into the market will now require 260,000 private housing starts

Achieving Barker’s most ambitious objective of ‘Improving the housing market’ will require 320,000 private sector starts per year – three times the number completed last year and a figure achieved in only four years since World War II

Even achieving the least ambitious of Barker’s three objectives, to slow down the rate at which households are priced out of the market, would require more than 200,000 private starts per year – a figure last achieved in 1973.

Delivering 1 million additional homes over the next 10 years could:

More than halve the Social Housing Waiting ListSustain an additional 350,000 jobs a year

Speaking today at HBF’s Policy Conference, alongside report author Kate Barker, Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of HBF, said:

“The Barker Review was a seminal report for housing and starkly illustrated the scale of the emerging crisis. Since then successive Governments have failed to pay heed and develop policies to deliver the homes the country needs.

“Whilst the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme is finally starting to drive demand and significantly increase supply, we start from a very low base and the shortfall is huge.

“As we approach a general election, we now need to see all parties committing to policies that lead to a sustained increase in house-building.  We have to build our way out of the crisis. Building the homes the country needs will provide the decent homes people deserve and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

Ahead of her speech to the conference, Kate Barker said: 'The continued shortfall in housing supply matters most to those who lose out in the battle for dwelling space. At the moment the cost is falling heavily on many families in the private rented sector. It is vital to raise the rate of new supply - but also to develop coherent policies to address the consequences of the supply shortfall.'

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

Notes to Editors:

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the principal representative body for private sector home builders and voice of the home building industry in England and Wales. HBF 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

Click here to view the report