Housebuilding is flat-lining in the north
Housebuilding is flat-lining in the north of England, as new research shows that the number of houses built in every city region in northern England has declined by over a quarter (28%) over the past decade compared to the 1980s.
The decline in housebuilding figures has been highlighted by Homes for the North, a new alliance of twenty large northern housing associations who have come together to highlight the need for a stronger housing offer in order to support the government’s plans for a northern powerhouse. The group has commissioned research by the Policy Exchange which found that in the period 1980 to 1989, twice as many of England’s homes were built in the north compared to London (16% compared to 8%). In stark contrast, the number of new houses built in London during the last 10 years has increased by 28%, whilst declining by 26% in the North East. Homes for the North collectively provide homes for nearly one million people, roughly one in three of all social rented homes in the North of England. Despite having plans to build 16,000 more homes over the next three years, the group wants to do more. Housing Minister Brandon Lewis welcomed the group as a voice for Northern housing issues when he spoke at its official launch at the House of Commons: “We’ve brought house building back from the brink with the number of new homes across the north up 36% in the last year” he said. “However, we know there is more to do. “That’s why we’ve doubled the housing budget to support the boldest plan for housing by any government since the 1970s, including our Housing Zone programme, which has the potential to deliver thousands of new homes for hardworking families across the region.” Homes for the North maintains that whilst the whole country faces a housing crisis, there is no ‘one size fits all solution’. Its Chair, Mark Henderson, Chief Executive of Home Group, said: “The housing issues facing Newcastle or Liverpool, for example, are not the same as those of London and the South East. And the policies needed to tackle London’s lack of affordability won’t help the North, where house prices are already 40% lower than elsewhere in the country. “For the northern powerhouse to become a reality, we need more good quality homes to support and attract a modern, growing workforce” he argued.
“Our research shows how northern city regions have struggled to keep up with the same level of housebuilding as in the 1980s. This is in stark contrast to London, which has seen a surge in its population over the past 30 years with the boom in the services sector.
“However it’s far from doom and gloom in the north. In fact the devolution agenda offers northern towns and cities a great opportunity to attract new investment, jobs and people. As more people flock to our great northern regions, demand for homes of all tenures will increase. Homes for the North will be at the heart of making this a reality.”