10 years ago studies led by the Government concluded that 250,000 new homes needed to be built every year in the UK to satisfy the growing market demand for home ownership, and to keep decent housing in an affordable price range for the average working family.
Today the number of houses being built is still way of that mark with just 141,000 new homes built in 2013 – 2014. During the previous year of 2012 – 2013 the figures showed a post-war low of 135,000 homes were built. The consequences have seen prices soar, particularly in London but also in other areas of the UK as demand outstrips supply.
In light of the low new build figures from the past two years, the current government have cut down the target to a more modest 200,000 new homes to be built every year by 2016, but an overwhelming majority of industry insiders still don't believe this target is realistic.
There can be no doubt that the financial difficulties of the past years have played their part in the relatively low number of new houses being built in the UK, with many firms going out of business and the confidence of those that remained understandably rattled.
With the economic recovery now gathering pace and the housing and construction market in particular showing strong growth, questions have to be asked on what other issues are holding back house builders and what can be done to encourage construction over the next few years.
As we mentioned in this article in September last year, the Government have pushed further emphasis on self builders with the Right to Build scheme and other incentives to build your own home. Also mentioned in the same article from September last year is the fact that in countries such as Austria, France and Germany around 60% of people are involved in the housebuilding process, whether that is the design or actually physical production – that is way ahead of the UK figure.
More self builders would certainly help boost the numbers closer to the 200,000 a year target, but are unlikely to be enough on their own.