Home starts fall to all time low
The number of new homes completed this year will hit an all time low, builders are predicting.
The National House Building Council says as few as 85,000 new homes will be registered in the year to March, compared with 184,000 last year.
The prediction makes the government’s aim to build 3 million new homes by 2020 look increasingly unattainable, and casts doubt on the viability of its target to increase build rates to 240,000 homes a year by 2016.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has calculated that over 200,000 homes a year need to be built to hit the 2020 goal. A report from charity Shelter published earlier this month gave a more precise figure of 242,000 homes a year.
The sharpest falls in building have been in the private sector. NHBC figures for October show applications to start new private homes dropped to 11,507, down 73 per cent on a year earlier. Housing association figures were 5 per cent down, at 8,473.
The council warned that if the decline continues the construction industry may not be able to respond to the demand for homes when the economy recovers.
Chief executive Imtiaz Farookhi said: ‘In the face of such a stark decline in new home volumes, we are at serious risk of losing a generation of skilled workers, as experienced in the 1990s.’
Conservative shadow housing minister Grant Shapps said: ‘Gordon Brown’s pledge to build 3 million homes is crumbling around him.
‘It is time for the prime minister to come clean and admit that his housing target is a complete con.’