The House of Lords Built Environment Committee says planning reform is necessary to address the nationwide housing shortage.
In January, the committee published its report, ‘Meeting housing demand.’ The report concluded that the government must address barriers to building much needed homes and stated that too many people currently live in expensive, unsuitable, and poor-quality homes. The report’s finding was that housing supply needs to be increased now to tackle the housing crisis.
Re-committing to delivering 300,000 homes per year
Responding to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities response to the ‘Meeting housing demand’ report, Committee Chair Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG, said:
“Our committee was pleased to see that the government has re-committed to delivering its 300,000 homes per year target. However, planning reform is key to further development and we are yet to hear details about the government’s planning proposals.
“We welcome the new taskforce on housing for the elderly and the government’s commitment to reversing the collapse of the SME housebuilding industry.
“Given that over half of councils do not have an up-to-date local plan, the Government must make inroads on planning reform and other barriers to housebuilding. We will hold follow-up evidence sessions to monitor progress later this year.”
House prices grow at fastest rate in 17 years
The Guardian reported that UK house prices grew in March at the fastest rate since 2004, continuing the ascent to new record levels – with the price of an average home now a fifth higher than at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The housing market has retained a surprising amount of momentum given the mounting pressure on household budgets and the steady rise in borrowing costs,” said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist. “A combination of robust demand and limited stock of homes on the market has kept upward pressure on prices.”
However, he said he expected the market to slow in the coming months, adding:
“The squeeze on household incomes is set to intensify, with inflation expected to rise further, perhaps reaching double digits in the quarters ahead if global energy prices remain high.”
Advantage’s view: As demand continues to outpace housing supply, the government will aim to tread a fine line between ensuring that planning reforms aren’t sufficiently radical to trouble existing home owners, yet go far enough to facilitate the creation of a substantial number of new homes for prospective buyers. As Advantage wrote last year, Housing Secretary Michael Gove has hit pause on the government’s more controversial planning changes. However, The House of Lords Built Environment Committee will not be alone in calling for some alternative form of planning reform to help the government meet its housebuilding targets.
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