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House building not keeping up with demand due to population growth – Blend

  • 03/06/2019
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House building not keeping up with demand due to population growth – Blend
In many towns and cities across the UK not enough houses are being built to keep pace with the increase in population and as a result is pushing property prices higher, according to analysis of official data.


Blend Network compared data from the UK Census in 2011 and Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates of population growth up to 2017, and then compared it with official house building data over the same period.

It found that Belfast was the UK’s fastest growing city, with its population increasing by 21 per cent to 340,200 in 2017 from 280,211 in 2011.

However, over the same period just 4,220 new houses were completed in the city, equating to one new home for every 14 new inhabitants.

Coventry is the UK’s second fastest growing city, according to the network.

Its population increased by 13.6% between 2011 and 2017 from 316,900 to 360,100, an increase of 43,200 people, with just 5,460 new properties completed over the same period, equating to one new home for every eight new inhabitants. The city has seen house prices increase by 44 per cent over the same six years.

Meanwhile, although the population of Birmingham only increased by six per cent between 2011 and 2017, house building has entirely failed to keep pace with only 5,650 homes completed in the same six years, equal to one property per 11 new residents. House prices have risen by 34 per cent in the same period.

The city of Manchester was the sixth fastest growing city in the UK, with its population rising by 42,400 from 503,100 in 2011 to 545,500 in 2017. But the total number of houses of built in the city over the same period of time was just 6,360 or one new home for every 7 new residents. As a result, property values have rocketed 48% in six years.

Brighton saw its population increase by 14,900, or 5.45 per cent, from 273,300 in 2011 to 288,200 in 2017 but the total number of houses built in the town in the same period rose by only 1,070. As a result, the town built one house to accommodate every 14 new residents and saw property values leap 49 per cent between 2011 and 2017.

The town which saw the largest increase in property values was Slough, where house prices increased by 68 per cent between 2011 and 2017. Over the same period just 1,920 new properties were built while the population increased by 8,600, giving a ratio of one new home per four new residents.


Capital cities

Surprisingly, the population of London was the 11th fastest growing in the UK, seeing an increase of 651,000 between 2011 and 2017 taking the total population of the capital from 8.1m to 8.8m, a rise of eight per cent.

There were also 146,000 housing completions over the period equal to one house per four new residents.

House building in Cardiff was just about keeping pace with population growth. Its population increased by 11,200, or three per cent, from 346,000 in 2011 to 357,200 in 2017. Over the same period 3,629 new homes were completed equalling one new home for every three new residents.

House building in Edinburgh was also on track with its expanding populace which increased by 4,065, or one per cent, from 477,940 in 2011 to 482,005 in 2017. Over the same period Edinburgh saw 11,107 new houses completed equal to three new homes per new city resident.


More work to be done

Yann Murciano, chief executive at Blend Network, said: “That there is a housing crisis in the UK is well recognised and beyond dispute but the extent of the crisis we are facing has been laid bare by examining this data.

“What is also troubling is that we may not be building homes in the right places. There is clearly a need for greater house building in Belfast, Manchester, Coventry and Birmingham for instance, but perhaps less so in cities like Glasgow, Swansea or Sunderland.

“Given how much is made of property values in London and the link between high house prices and a lack of property, it is perhaps surprising that the data suggests there is less of a chronic under-supply of housing than would be believed.

“Obviously, property developers can only build housing where it is needed with financial support but often struggle to raise enough funds from traditional lenders.”



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