Fixing the broken housing market

Published February 7th, 2017

Building enough homes for this generation and the next generation’s needs was the subject of the Government’s Housing White Paper, published today (FEB 7).

Government Minister Sajid Javid said: “The symptoms of this broken market are being felt by real people in every community. It’s one of the biggest barriers to social progress this country faces. But its root cause is simple. For far too long, we have not built enough houses.  Relative to population size, Britain has had Western Europe’s lowest rate of house-building for 3 decades[1].”

Housing Minister Gavin Barwell said: “We owe it to our children and our grandchildren to fix the broken housing market problems and help them find a home of their own.”

Helen Howie, a planning consultant with Berrys, Shrewsbury says this message is particularly relevant in Shropshire as Shropshire Council has just commenced consultation on a replacement Local Plan.

Shropshire’s Core Strategy Local Plan assesses the local need for housing to be 27,500 new homes 2006-2026, equivalent to an average of 1,375 new homes every year.  This amount of housing is the minimum needed to keep pace with demand.

“Unfortunately Shropshire has been under-performing with an average of only 1,090 new homes per annum over the past 10 years, 2006-2016,” Mrs Howie said.

“To make up the shortfall and meet the current housing target will require an increase in house building to an average of 1,660 per annum over the next 10 years, 2016-2026.”

However, in a consultation paper published on January 23, Shropshire  Council suggests three options, ranging from 1,325 new homes per annum to 1,437 new homes per annum.

“This flies in the face of evidence that the amount of housing should increase rather than decrease.  “For example, reports produced by demographic specialists at two recent public inquiries estimated that around 1,990 new homes per annum would be needed[2] going forward,” Mrs Howie said.

The consequence of restricting new housing is a worsening situation for the next generation.  According to the latest government statistics, published in December 2016[3], Starter homes in Shropshire are now more expensive that at the peak of the housing boom in 2007/8.

Rising house prices have severe implications for the next generation. As the Secretary of State Sajid Javid said last year, “Far too many young people can’t get a foot on the housing ladder. Many are being forced to live back with mum and dad, as rents soar faster than wages… One and a half million households contain at least one adult who says he or she wants to buy or rent their own home but simply cannot afford to do so…Tackling this housing shortfall isn’t about political expediency.  It’s a moral duty.”

Landowners in the county should note that Shropshire Council is looking for new housing land to meet the need for housing, in a ‘call for sites’.

If you wish to put land forward or for further information please contact Helen Howie at Berrys on 01743 239028 email
[1] Housing completions in England over 2015/16 were 189,650 net dwellings, the highest figure since the housing boom.  However official household projections show that the annual requirement is significantly higher, at 236,000 per annum over 2014-2019[1].  A significant increase in housing delivery remains is necessary if the country is to achieve current needs, let alone address past under-supply.
[2] Barton Willmore, Foldgate Lane Ludlow public inquiry August 2016, estimated 1,990 and GL Hearn, Tarporley Road Whitchurch public inquiry November 2016, estimated 1,996 per annum
[3] Represented by lower quartile house prices – ie. the price of a property at the 25% centile (the mean average being the 50% centile).

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More about Helen Howie

Planning Consultant
Tel: 01743 239028
Mobile: 07741 313576

Helen is a Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute with qualifications from Aberdeen and Liverpool Universities, where she was the winner of the Abercrombie Prize.

Helen has a solid 16 years’ experience from both private and public sectors, with particular expertise in Local and Neighbourhood Plans, housing and larger scale developments. She has given talks at a number of RTPI events and for the Government’s Planning Advisory Service, and is known for her proactive and dedicated approach.