Analysis by the Centre for Policy Studies revealed that despite the government’s recent efforts to boost construction, new-build housing completions in England between 2010 and 2019 are to be at approximately 130,000 per year.
These are below the 147,000 of the 2000s or 150,000 of the 1990s, and half of the level in the 1960s and 1970s.
In the 1960s, the new-build construction rate in England was roughly the equivalent of one home for every 14 people over the decade. But in the 2010s that ratio has risen to one to 43 – more than three times higher.
The figures are improved when factoring in conversions of existing properties, which push the total up – but even then, the total of net additional dwellings is likely to be lower this decade than last, the think tank said.
Across the United Kingdom as a whole, the pattern is broadly similar, with housebuilding falling from a peak of 3.6 million new units in the 1960s to 1.9 million in the 1990s and 2000s, with the 2010s set to come in lower still.
Housebuilding may pick up by 2020
Robert Colvile, director of the Centre for Policy Studies, said that the housing crisis is blighting the lives of a generation, and robbing them of the dream of home ownership.
He said: “However, this is not just the consequence of the financial crisis – it is part of a pattern stretching back half a century, in which we have steadily built fewer and fewer new homes.
“The government has rightly promised to focus on this issue, and there are encouraging signs that housebuilding is picking up. But ministers need to take bold action in 2019 to ensure that the 2020s become the decade in which we break this hugely damaging cycle.”