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UK housing shortage reaches one million

The shortage of housing in the UK has reached one million a decade on from the Barker Review of Housing Supply.This is according to the Home Builders Federation (HBF), which has highlighted the figure as evidence of the continuing housing deficit. The organisation points out that the figure is equivalent to the size of Birmingham and its surrounding areas. While the Barker Review warned that at least 210,000 homes needed to be constructed every year to satisfy demand, the average number of homes actually built every year has been just 115,000.As a result, the UK is now one million homes short of the amount necessary to adequately house its population and prevent an affordability crisis.The HBF claims that 260,000 private housing starts are needed to achieve Ms Barker's objective and begin pricing households back into the market. Some 320,000 private sector starts per year will be necessary to achieve his most ambitious objective of 'improving the housing market'. This is three times the number completed last year.In order to realise the least ambitious of Ms Barker's goals - slowing down the rate at which households are priced out of the market - more than 200,000 private starts a year are needed. This figure was last achieved in 1973.Executive chairman of HBF Stewart Baseley said successive governments have failed to heed the Barker Review and implement the policies needed to boost housing supply.While Mr Baseley welcomed the role played by the Help to Buy equity loan scheme in stimulating supply, he pointed out that "we start from a very low base and the shortfall is huge"."As we approach a general election, we now need to see all parties committing to policies that lead to a sustained increase in house-building," he added. "We have to build our way out of the crisis. Building the homes the country needs will provide the decent homes people deserve and create hundreds of thousands of jobs."HBF claims delivering an extra one million homes a year would more than halve the social housing waiting list and sustain an extra 350,000 jobs a year. 

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