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Housebuilding set for five-year climb but will fail to meet need

Housebuilders are expected to build 167,000 new homes a year by 2018 backed by a steep rise in public sector output but will still fall short of the 240,000 homes needed annually, the industry has been warned.

Savills has forecast a 55 per cent rise in the number of homes built over the next five years, from 108,000 in 2013 to 167,000 in 2018, but has stressed this is a “best-case scenario”.

The largest increase will be local authority housing, rising from 1,360 in 2013 to 10,000 in 2018.

Housing associations are expected to make up a fifth of total new-build delivery, with 34,000 homes a year by 2018 out of the 167,000 total new homes in 2018.

Private sector housebuilding is forecast to climb 8 per cent a year through to 2018, seeing a total increase of 35 per cent over the five-year period.

This would result in an average output from private housebuilders of 107,000 new homes a year over the next five years, according to Savills research.

Housebuilding completions 2000 to 2018

Source: Savills/DCLG

Click on graph to enlarge

However, even with this increased output, private housebuilders would still be producing fewer than the 203,320 homes they built in 1968 when construction peaked.

They would also be building fewer than the 2007 total of 154,210 new homes.

Writing for Construction News, Savills director of residential research Susan Emmett said: “As housebuilding picks up, the shortage of skills and materials is becoming increasingly evident. 

“A limited supply of bricks, concrete blocks, cranes and a skilled labour force – the product of six years of a subdued property market – is now pushing up construction costs. 

“There is mounting concern that some housing associations may struggle to meet the March 2015 deadline to deliver the projects earmarked for the current housing programme. 

“And that’s before we take into account the effects of a very wet start to the year, not to mention the floods.”

She said the housebuilding surge of the 1950s, when supply increased 80 per cent between 1951 and 1954, was driven by local authorities.

In 1968, when housebuilding last peaked, the private sector built just over half of the 350,000 new homes.

“In recent years, we have seen greater delivery from housing associations, often in partnership with private builders,” Ms Emmett said. 

“It is crucial that output from this sector continues to grow and that SMEs, which dwindled in numbers during the economic downturn, are revitalised through easier access to finance and land.”

Quintain Estates and Developments said this week that construction of its 475-home residential scheme in Wembley will begin within the next few months.

Last December, Quintain secured detailed planning consent from the London Borough of Brent for 475 new homes at its Wembley Park development site.

In its interim management statement for the three months to 11 February 2014, Quintain said marketing of the scheme will begin in March, with construction to start “shortly thereafter”.

It will consist of seven buildings arranged around an acre of private gardens, next to the civic centre and London Designer Outlet (pictured), also developed by Quintain.

John Sisk & Son has won all of Quintain’s projects at Wembley Park to date, worth around £300m to the contractor.

Ms Emmett warned though that the burden of meeting the country’s growing housing need should not be placed squarely with the private sector.

“Encouraging a greater variety of players to deliver new homes, as well as promoting different routes to market, such as build to rent, would be a great step forward,” she said.

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