Kevin Williamson on the long-term prospects for the UK housing market
The government’s target of 3 million new homes by 2020 is an important step towards stabilising affordability, however in considering the evidence and local circumstances, regional planning authorities may want to go further.
Our advice is about a range of housing provision to be tested by regional planners and decision-makers in developing their revised regional spatial strategies.
In 2007, the average house cost more than seven times the average income. All things being equal, the current under-supply of new homes implied by the emerging regional spatial strategies would push this ratio to 8.6 by 2026. Without reconsidering levels of new housing, we will add to the next unsustainable upswing in house prices, locking more potential buyers out of the market.
It is vital that planners and decision-makers keep an eye on the long term. We must not be fooled into thinking that the current cooling market will make housing more affordable. Even in the short term, the outlook is still difficult, particularly for first-time buyers who are finding it ever harder to secure a mortgage they can afford.
The housing market cycle will not be moderated until we have properly addressed the supply problem, and we are finally delivering the right number of new homes, of the right type, in the right place at the right time.
Kevin Williamson is chief executive of the National Housing and Planning Advice Unit