An overwhelming percentage of housebuilders polled in England don’t believe that the government’s housing construction targets are feasible, according to Monday’s annual housebuilding report from Knight Frank.
Last year, English ministers announced plans to increase housing supply by 300,000 homes a year to address housing shortages and affordability issues in the country.
Knight Frank polled more than 100 house builders and developers who account for almost three-quarters of all homes built across the country each year and only 1% of respondents to the survey believe it’s possible to reach 300,000 new homes or more each year by 2022.
Meanwhile, 86% of housebuilders believe construction of 250,000 additional homes a year is the maximum amount achievable by 2022.
Planning remains the main barrier to speeding up housing delivery, respondents say, with 39% identifying it as the top issue, according to the report.
Looking ahead, respondents said outer London, the South East and the West Midlands present the greatest opportunities for housebuilders during the next three years, meanwhile 61% of respondents plan to increase the number of homes they build during the next 12 months, the report said.
That figure is buoyed by large developers who build over 1,000 homes per year, 92% of which plan to increase construction starts this year, however 57% of small developers intend to decrease activity or leave output unchanged.
Brexit too, poses a problem for housebuilders, the report said. The majority said that an uncertain economy was the greatest risk of the process of the U.K. leaving the E.U. This was followed by labor availability and then access to materials.
“Our survey indicates that skepticism prevails among housebuilders over whether it’s possible to deliver 300,000 additional homes a year, and ultimately they will only build what they can sell,” said David Fenton, head of regional land at Knight Frank, in the report. “As our respondents have identified in the survey, the market is not without its challenges, and continued policy uncertainty has the potential to weigh on output in the coming years.”
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