Britain needs more new homes for two reasons. Firstly, throughout the 21st
century we have not built a sufficient number to meet the ever-growing demand
of the population increase. Secondly, the activity of building has an
important knock-on effect to the rest of the economy - and gives us a chance
to replace ageing housing stock, develop seemingly derelict 'brownfield' land
and attract new people (and new money) into the community.
In 2011 the nation only built some 100,000 homes, half the target set by the
Government and some 38% of the 2007 peak. Worryingly even this low number is
dropping, with new starts down 50% in 2012. One clear reason is the
difficulty in obtaining a mortgage with lenders typically requiring a 20%
deposit (in early 2007 loans of 120% of the value of the property were
available to first time buyers - the additional cash for furniture,
electrical goods and carpets which the buyer would have otherwise purchased
with shop credit).
One key problem is the planning requirement that 35% of units on a
development of over 15 houses must be affordable. This onerous requirement
makes the entire development unaffordable to the builder, thus contributing
to the lack of starts.
You will have seen figures in this journal as to the number of houses
required in Ipswich, targets that have recently been abandoned (with the
demise of the Regional Assembly) but the requirement for somewhere to live
remains and we must build, both inside the Borough boundary and in the
parishes immediately adjacent.