How Can We Solve the UK Housing Crisis?

A new survey has revealed what Richard Carr believes are very common reasons why the UK housing crisis seems to be getting worse by the day.

Real crisis

It’s a great time for the UK residential property sector. That might be because we’re selling houses at the speed of light in the current market. Data published by HM Revenue and Customs indicates that UK house sales eclipsed 100,000 for the third month in a row in August 2015.

Yet it’s also becoming increasingly clear that the UK has a real housing crisis on its hands, and residential property development activity levels simply aren’t high enough to deal with the problem. The National Housing Federation estimated that England needed to build 974,000 homes from 2011 to 2014. A BBC Inside Out Investigation recently revealed that we only managed to build 457,490.

Lloyd’s survey

A new survey from Lloyd’s Bank Commercial Banking showed why house building firms believe the UK can’t build enough residential units to meet demand. The poll, which questioned businesses across the house building chain, found that these businesses believe an industry skills shortage and the UK’s current planning system are holding back the residential property construction industry.

Property Wire reported that 24% of residents argued that the skills shortage is the biggest hurdle facing their industry. 35% said that there simply aren’t enough qualified candidates for the job. Meanwhile, when asked what was most likely to alleviate the UK’s housing crisis, 23% of firms said that they needed greater local authority support to promote and fund building projects.

Clearer planning process

Alasdair Gardner, head of house builders for Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, commented: “House builders told us that slow planning decisions are a challenge, something the commission reflected in its call for clearer targets for local authorities on planning process timeframe. Clearly, skills (are) also a huge concern for industry operators too.”

The executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, Stewart Bassley, also spoke out on the results of the survey. He said: “If a positive policy environment and a stable economy can be maintained, the industry will continue to grow to deliver the Government’s ambition to build more homes and tackle our entrenched housing crisis.”

Wake up call

The results of this survey make perfect sense to Richard Carr. If you don’t have the staff to do the job and you have to deal with inefficient UK planning regulations, of course you’re going to find it hard to build houses. The UK needs to see this poll as it’s very own wake up call, and give residential property developers the support they need to end the country’s housing crisis once and for all.