Posted by: Adam Roake | February 17, 2012

Housing Statistics and Size of Policies

The mild spat between Jack Dromey and Grant Shapps over the latest DCLG housing figures is exasperating. Both gentlemen want more homes to be delivered but both seem stuck in a Westminster playground punch up about whose policies are bigger.

These are the actual numbers (non-seasonally adjusted to show better the annual figures) in graphic form and with tabular data below (from House Building: December Quarter 2011, England, DCLG):

The reality of the housing figures is this: we’re not completing enough homes in the right places and we haven’t been for several years. The position now is massively worse than it was before the banking crisis and it is difficult to see how the private sector will build us enough new homes when they can only sell the relatively few they are currently building. Nonetheless the DCLG spokesman seems happy to say that housebuilding is 24% higher than in 2009. It’s true that starts are now 24% higher than the in the trough of 2009 but that only takes us to 60% of the starts in 2008, so not really good enough. Also the number of starts does not equate to the number of homes delivered – the appropriate series to look at is completions. For some reason the journalists at the FT haven’t pointed this out.

The long and short is that completions (and starts) are bumping along at about 110,000 and we need to build twice that amount. Please Mr Dromey and Mr Shapps will you address this rather than posture about the relative size of your policies.

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