Confidence in new builds falls as average house in England will have to last 2,000 years

The average new home in England will have to last 2,000 years if the sluggish rate of house building and replacement continues, the Local Government Association warns today.


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The country has not built enough homes for decades. As a result, existing homes must house more people and last for much longer, which has led to the country spending nearly as much on the repair and maintenance of existing homes as it does building new ones.

But analysis reveals that one in 10 new home buyers are dissatisfied with the quality of their new home and one in six would not recommend their house builder to a friend.

The research, carried out for the LGA, also reveals most local areas have more homes built before 1930 then from any other period of time, demonstrating the age of much of England’s housing stock.

The LGA is calling on government to help councils build a new generation of high quality, genuinely affordable and additional homes, supported by adequate infrastructure and services. Housebuilders also need to work with councils to ensure new homes are built to a good quality, and will stand the test of time.

With increasing numbers of people in the private rented sector, council leaders are also concerned that 28 per cent of privately rented homes are not decent, an increase of 150,000 homes since 2006. In comparison, council homes are more likely to be better quality, with 85 per cent meeting the decent homes standard, an increase from 70 per cent in 2008.

Local government leaders insist a “national renaissance” in council housebuilding must be central to solving our housing shortage and improving quality, and for delivering the mix of different homes that meet the growing and changing need of communities.

For this to happen, the LGA said councils need to be able to borrow to build and to keep 100 per cent of the receipts of any home they sell to reinvest in new and existing housing.

Cllr Judith Blake, LGA Housing spokesperson, said:

“Our country’s failure to build enough homes over the past few decades is putting huge pressure on our existing housing stock.

“Families are having to spend more on rent or mortgages every month and deserve a decent home that is affordable. But as costs are rising, so is dissatisfaction with the standards of new homes.

“Everyone deserves an affordable and decent place to live. It’s crucial that all new and existing homes are up to a decent standard.

“Councils need to be able to ensure quality through the planning system, and to encourage high standards in rented and owned properties across the board.

“To spark a desperately-needed renaissance in council housebuilding, councils also need to able to borrow to build new homes and keep all receipts from any homes they sell to reinvest in building new homes that are of a good quality and affordable.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • Home-building figures come from the latest DCLG House-building stats. You can read more about the demand for more affordable housing in the LGA’s Housing Commission Report.
  • LGA Research from the report reveals that £27 billion was spent on the repair and maintenance of existing homes in 2016, with £35 billion spent on building new ones.
  • English Housing Survey data on the Decent Home Standard and Private Rented Sector is available here.
  • The LGA’s ‘Growing Places’ report sets out how councils can - with fairer funding and freedom from central government - build local public services for the future. Find out more about councils’ vision for housing by clicking on the link above.