Crisis, what crisis? (House building in the UK)

When I am challenged about assertions I have made I try to research and find out whether I have made incorrect statements or not.

So, I made a claim about house building and the new lows reached under the current Conservative and Liberal Democrat government. If anything, I may have somewhat understated the scale of the problem.

The House Builders Federation has some handy stats. I quote ….

• In 2012/13 England had one of the lowest house building rates since 1923 – there were just 108,190 completions.
• Affordability has plummeted – in the last 40 years the average house price to salary ratio has almost doubled; the price of the average home purchased is now almost 7x the average annual salary of the buyer.
• First time buyers are at record lows. Eight out of ten first-time buyers require financial help from family or friends, and the average age of unassisted first-time buyers has soared.
• Close to a fifth of women and a third of men aged between 20 and 34 are still living at home.
• Social Housing Waiting Lists have almost doubled in the last 10 years to 1.85 million households; around 5 million people are waiting for a home.
• 76,000 children live in temporary accommodation and 250,000 families in social housing are in over-crowded accommodation.

And here is a handy graphic which neatly shows the story of housing building over the last four decades.

House building numbers - UK, 1970 - 2013

And for those who prefer numbers …

Year Houses built in the UK
1970 378320
1971 362230
1972 364480
1973 330940
1974 304640
1975 279580
1976 321940
1977 324770
1978 314090
1979 288600
1980 251820
1981 241990
1982 206570
1983 182820
1984 208900
1985 220270
1986 207570
1987 215510
1988 226230
1989 242360
1990 221520
1991 197210
1992 191250
1993 178420
1994 186850
1995 195580
1996 197710
1997 185940
1998 190760
1999 178290
2000 184010
2001 175370
2002 174200
2003 193210
2004 190590
2005 206620
2006 214000
2007 219070
2008 218530
2009 178780
2010 152950
2011 137400
2012 145910
2013 135117
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One Response to Crisis, what crisis? (House building in the UK)

  1. But those of us who have owned our homes for more than about 10 years will be sitting on a tax-free capital gain. And in an insecure world where we are scared of the future costs of health care and social care (we will end up paying for both in the long term – that’s the current trajectory) these gains represent our security and we won’t give them up.

    These gains are biggest for those who live in live in expensive housing areas – and that is further contributing to the divisions in the country (compare house prices in NW1 to prices in NE1). Why should you get a nice fat tax free gain for just living in NW1?

    (I know of someone who sold their (nice) house in NW1 and moved one postcode north to an equally nice house and realised a tax-free gain greater than the combined total of all income I earned in my working life and the modest gains I have made on my house in the north east of England. That pays for their kids’ University Fees, funds their internships and can still make a contribution to their deposits on their first homes. All because they happen to live in an over-inflated property market.)

    Subsidising first time buyers will not solve the problem. Privileged Inheritance Tax treatment for those able to hand on “mansions” to their children won’t solve the problem. But building more houses will (shock horror) reduce prices for those sitting on in in a pile! (Which market do many MPs have their homes in: “NW1” or “NE1”?)

    Which party will be brave enough to say that all capital gains should be taxed at your marginal income tax rate (or higher) irrespective of how they arose?

    We have to break the fetish of looking at our houses as investments rather than as homes.

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