Ministers are set to miss their manifesto pledge on house building by more than 80,000 homes after construction slowed in the first six months after the general election, online estate agent HouseSimple.com revealed today.
The Prime Minister has made much of the commitment to solve the housing crisis, but the government is still on target to miss its election pledge by 84,000 properties.
The party renewed its 2015 commitment to build one million new homes by the end of 2020 during campaigning ahead of the 2017 general election held last June. But the battle to solve the housing crisis has not been helped by a succession of different housing ministers. Dominic Raab MP, the current Minister of State for Housing, is the seventh housing minister since 2010. His predecessor, Alok Sharma MP, had only been in post for just over six months.
According to MHCLG figures, the number of new homes started between mid-2015 – when the pledge begins – and the end of 2017 was 386,160 and the number of new build starts has increased by 7,235 on average over the past two years.
Even if that rate of growth can be maintained, building will begin on only 529,950 homes between 2018 and 2020. This means the government will fail to meet its commitment in building 916,110 homes by the end of 2020 – a shortfall of 83,890.
If this rate of growth cannot be maintained, the Conservatives will renege on their pledge by an even greater margin. Based on a two-year average (2016 and 2017), only 474,690 new homes would be started between January 2018 and the end of 2020. This would create a shortfall of 139,150 homes.
The rate of new building has been growing steadily since 2013 – and continued into 2017.
However, in the wake of an election campaign that saw both major parties focus heavily on house building, the number of new homes started in the third and fourth quarters of last year dropped to 76,250, a fall of 1.52%. In the same period in 2016 when there were 77,430 new build starts.
The anticipated failure of Conservative housing policy in England hasn’t stopped the Government making even bolder promises. In last November’s Autumn Budget, Mr Hammond pledged that 300,000 new homes would be built every year by the mid-2020s.
Sam Mitchell, CEO of online estate agents HouseSimple.com, said:
“It could be a case of better late than never if the rate of building growth is to be believed but it’s going to be a tall order to keep this going for the next seven years.
“The government’s main concern should be the anticipated failure to deliver on its most basic pledge to build one million homes by the end of 2020. If they fail, critics will simply paint the more lofty aspirations to build 300,000 homes a year as a piece of political theatre.
“This issue deserves to be more than a distraction for voters and it would help if the revolving door of housing ministers were to stop. The housing crisis is real and affordability problems play havoc with other parts of the economy as first-time buyers in particular are forced to part with significant chunks of their disposable income in order to get on the housing ladder.”