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Government misses new build completions target by 40 per cent

  • 06/06/2022
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Government misses new build completions target by 40 per cent
The UK government has missed its ambitious 300,000 new build homes target by around 40 per cent, continuing a trend over multiple governments.


New build sales optimisation platform Unlatch compared new home completions across the UK with government targets, found that 181,810 new homes were completed across the UK in 2021, which is 40 per cent below the government’s target of 300,000 new homes.

It said that this represents a shortfall of 118,190 new homes, which it said was the highest since 2007.

The report said that when the Conservative government came into power, they initially promised to reach 300,000 new homes built by mid-2020, as they looked to beat the prior Labour government’s target of 240,000 homes.

It said that 210,719 new homes were completed across the UK in 2019 and 2020, which was the second highest level since 2007 and 2009 but 30 per cent beneath its target.

According to Unlatch, this is an ongoing problem as the previous Labour government failed to meet new build targets.

Labour set a 240,000 new build homes target in 2007. The closest it got to meeting that was 215,862 homes built that year.

The lowest number of houses built by the Labour government come in 2012 and 2013 with 133,056 new builds reaching the market.

It then steadily rose, coming to 169,274 in 2015 and 2016 and 178,007 in 2016 and 2017.

Lee Martin, UK head for Unlatch said that complications from the recent pandemic would provide a “convenient excuse” for the government “to mask yet another year of failure when it comes to the delivery of new homes”.

He said that this failure was not a recent occurrence and both Labour and Conservative governments “have failed to seriously honour their responsibility to build more homes for going on 15 years now”.

Martin continued: “This is no doubt due to their archaic, lethargic approach to housebuilding and a failure to adopt the evolving technologies and practices that are helping many housebuilders to streamline their internal process and deliver more homes, without compromising on quality or revenue.”

He pointed to the planning system as a roadblock to progress and the current government had said that it was “central” to the failure to build new homes, especially in some areas where housing need was “most severe”.

Martin added: “There’s a continued focus on supporting private sector delivery, however this is surely down to them to solve with many of the largest national housebuilders willing to give feedback, yet currently the revamp is still paused.”

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