Property consultant Savills has warned housebuilders they will need to raise the rate of completions in the Thames Gateway by two-thirds over the next decade.

Under government targets set out by former deputy prime minister John Prescott, 160,000 homes must be completed by 2016.

However, according to Savills’ research, between 2001 and 2006 only about 40,000 homes were built. This represents just a quarter of the target in the first six years of the 15-year programme.

The research shows that the rate of construction needs to increase by 67% over the next 10 years compared with the past five.

Savills highlighted the dominance of large sites and difficulty of getting planning as two of the main reasons for the delay. It said that 80% of new residential units across the Thames Gateway are to be located on development sites of more than 1,000 units.

Jim Ward, Savills research director, said: “Whenever you see a government is setting targets, they are always optimistic, and inevitably you get slippage. It’s probably what they should have expected at this stage, from a practitioner’s point of view.”