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UK housing gap highlighted by ACE report

New research published by the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) has highlighted the growing housing gap in the UK.

According to the report, within the next eight years the country's housing shortage is forecast to grow to more than 886,000 properties - the equivalent of two cities the size of Birmingham - if radical action is not taken by the government to boost housing starts and the delivery of new homes.

Chief executive of ACE Dr Nelson Ogunshakin said: "The housing market has broken down over decades because we have not built enough homes for people - and the consequences of that are already being felt."

He argued as home building in the UK has slowed to around 100,000 new starts per year, this has resulted in a growing gap between the number of available houses and the amount of people searching to get a foot on the property ladder.

A further impact of this fall in new developments has been the instigation of an ongoing housing price bubble, as values are being artificially inflated due to the growing demand and lack of supply.

"The UK market has grown too comfortable with high inflation in housing. In the last 35 years house prices have risen 2,035 per cent. That is more than twice the 936 per cent increase in wages over the same period," Dr Ogunshakin noted.

In order to tackle the issue the government is presented with two possible options by Dr Ogunshakin.

He states Westminster officials can either prepare for the rising social harm of overcrowding, unsustainable high mortgage costs and the inevitable rise in homelessness and the associated costs this brings to the taxpayer and society in general, or forthright action can be taken to boost construction investment and bring the number of new homes being built up to an acceptable level.

Indeed, unless action is taken soon the problem will only worsen in the years ahead, he warns. 

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