Please Note: This Article is 6 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.

An extra 5m homes will be needed in England for the old, migrants and singles over the next 25 years.

The impact of an ageing population, more immigration and a singleton lifestyle, new projections produced by Government estimate, that over five million new homes could have to be built in England in the next 25 years to cope with demand.

The projections, produced by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), have recently been revised upwards following a previous study carried out two years ago, which was 4,000 new-builds per year less, amounting to 100,000 homes over a quarter of a century.

These estimates are based on current demographic trends and projections based on today’s expected scenarios, but there is no indication if this will change post the Brexit vote, as these figures were produced beforehand.

Current DCLG estimates, based on current growth rates, say the number of households in England will grow by an average of 210,000 per year over the period from 2014 to 2039.

Demographic changes by then will mean that households will be 14 per cent smaller on average. This is a consequence of couples having fewer children and a trend towards living alone through divorce and “silver splitting”; older couples breaking up once their children have flow the nest.

An increasing number of people who choose not to get married will combine with the effects of family breakdown as well as single living widows or widowers living into the 90s and even 100s.

The government projections have it that there would also be fewer young families. DCLG say the number of households with parents between 25 and 34 is set to fall by 9,000 per year over the 25-year period, 225,000 in total.

The biggest single factor, according to DCLG, in driving the growth in the number of future households, is ageing and longevity. The number of households headed by an over 65 is expected to increase by 155,000 per year over years until 2039.

Immigration is likely to be the next big factor (though Brexit could change that?) driving these projected growth figures, which could account for 37 per cent of new housing demand.

A lot will now depend on the Brexit negotiations over the next couple of years, and whether these will result in dramatically reduced net immigration.

The DCLG figures are supported by research for the Town and Country Planning Association co-authored by Christine Whitehead, Professor of Housing at LSE London, which found that England needs to build extra 1.5m homes in next five years.

The report, “How Many Homes” shows housing shortages resulting in high house prices and rents mean that young people are living with parents or in house shares for longer, rather than forming a household of their own. Rising student debt levels and potential future welfare reforms are likely to make their position even more difficult, the report says.

Christine Whitehead said:

“One of the biggest concerns is that couples aged between 25 and 34 – at the time when family formation is at its highest –  are expected to be less well housed in 2031 than their counterparts in 2011. And if house building cannot be increased, at least to the projected levels, other household groups will find themselves in the same boat.”

Of the new homes that will be needed, the LSE study says 55% are needed in London and the surrounding area. In contrast, the number of new households needed in the north east is expected to rise by only 11% over 20 years.

The LSE research was based on statistics from DCLG and the Office of National Statistics, and was conducted by Neil McDonald, (previously Chief Executive of the National Housing and Planning Advice Unit) and Professor Christine Whitehead. It was launched in Parliament on 4 November 2015 and funded by the Lady Margaret Patterson Osborn Trust, and Places for People.

Please Note: This Article is 6 years old. This increases the likelihood that some or all of it's content is now outdated.


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