Land key to solving London’s housing crisis

13 May, 2014

Land key to solving London’s housing crisis

House builders challenge councils to release the land needed to address the biggest threat to the capital’s future.

In advance of London’s elections, house builders have today launched a manifesto aimed at addressing the capital’s acute and worsening housing crisis. The industry is urging politicians – national, Mayoral and from the Boroughs – to work together and prioritise an increase in house delivery, the only way to solve the biggest threat to London’s future social and economic prosperity.

Land is the key. Politicians elected on 22nd May need to act quickly to work with neighbouring boroughs and the Mayor to identify and bring forward land quickly so that house builders can build the homes London needs. More land needs to be identified for development, including significant amounts of surplus public land that politicians have direct control over. The bureaucratic and cumbersome planning process also needs to be more efficient to accelerate the rate at which land comes forward such that the industry can build at a rate to meet the level of demand.

London has a desperate shortage of homes. Nearly 50,000 families in the capital are now in temporary accommodation, three times more than in the rest of England combined, and a figure set to grow as London’s population increases.

A lack of housing is also now seen as the biggest threat to London’s economy, with employers citing employee’s inability to source housing as a reason not to invest.  

Building the homes needed would also provide a significant economic boost. Increasing build rates to the 42,000 homes a year target set by the Mayor would create and sustain an additional 40,000 jobs in the capital on building sites –including many for young people - and 25,000 jobs in the supply chain in the wider South East region.

To make this target a reality, house builders are telling politicians to;

Ensure that putting in place a long-term plan to help tackle the housing crisis is prioritised and put above party politics

Commit to ensuring that the number of new homes being built is at the level required by the borough’s future household projections

Help to identify and allocate sufficient land for development

Commit to disposing of surplus land with minimum bureaucracy and delay

Ensure that planning obligations – affordable housing requirements; infrastructure contributions etc. - are set at realistic levels that do not threaten the viability of new housing

Work with the industry to reduce the number of unnecessary conditions attached to planning consents in order to get sites built out earlier

Work with the Mayor and neighbouring authorities both inside and outside of London to ensure that local housing needs are met where these cannot be addressed wholly within the London Borough in question

Help to facilitate the training of local young people so that they are equipped to help build tomorrow’s communities

Consider the shifting demographics of the capital and address the housing needs of different age groups

Work constructively with communities and house builders to ensure that residents are fully aware of the social and economic benefits of development in their area

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

“The Capital is now facing an acute and worsening housing crisis. If we are to provide the homes we need for London to prosper, politicians must urgently prioritise housing provision.

“Land is key. Local, regional and national politicians have to start working together to develop policies that allow house building sites to come forward. Politicians need to identify and bring forward land quickly if builders are to build the homes London needs.

“The social and economic implications for London are becoming ever more apparent.  More and more people are living in temporary accommodation, whilst businesses see employees’ inability to find decent homes as a deterrent to investment. Building new homes will provide decent accommodation for London’s population whilst creating tens of thousands of jobs.

“Providing the homes London needs will ensure the capital remains a world leading city where people want to live and businesses want to invest. House builders want to play their part in delivering the London of the future, but need politicians to work with them to enable desperately needed homes to be built.”

For media enquiries, or to arrange an interview, please contact Steve Turner, HBF, 020 7960 1606 / 07919 307 760 or

Notes to Editors:

 The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the representative body of the home building industry in England and Wales. HBF’s members 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: here to download the report