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Coronavirus chaos means Britain could lose 318,000 new homes over five years

Investment in affordable housing should be fast-tracked to save the housebuilding sector, said homelessness charity Shelter

A charity has urged the Government to fast-track £12.2bn in housing spending as coronavirus chaos leaves a gaping hole in the delivery of Britain’s new homes.

The pandemic could mean 125,000 fewer homes will be built this financial year, a new report has found.

Over the next five years, this could total 318,000 missing homes, according to analysis by Savills estate agents for the homelessness charity Shelter. 

These numbers are a worst-case scenario estimate, but even the report's baseline forecast is that just 171,000 of an expected 255,000 homes will be built this year, meaning a loss of 84,000 homes – equivalent to a town roughly the size of Basingstoke.

大发体育网站This would be little more than half the Government’s target of building 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.

Just 4,300 social rent homes大发体育网站 will be built this year – a drop of 30pc from expected levels and the lowest number of social homes built in any year since the Second World War. 

More than a million households are on social waiting lists across England alone. Shelter said 4,000 social homes would not be enough to house the families on the waiting list in the West Yorkshire city of Wakefield, let alone the whole country.

The charity has urged the Government to fast-track the £12.2bn that it has pledged to spend on the Affordable Homes Programme over the next five years.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will today announce plans to spend billions of pounds to “build, build, build” and support the economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. 

Shelter said the money for the Affordable Homes Programme should be spent within the next two years to prevent the coming shortage of homes and to save tens of thousands of construction jobs.

The impact of coronavirus on the housebuilding sector is multi-pronged. First, construction was frozen on almost all major projects during the initial stages of lockdown. Since the Government gave the green light for building to restart in May, productivity has been slowed by social distancing guidelines.

But the bigger problem is that the sector will also be hit by reduced demand for market price homes as the country enters a recession.

The new-build sector has “a heavy reliance” on building market price homes, for which there will be less demand, and does not build enough affordable and social homes, for which there will be more need, the report said.

If demand for market value homes drops significantly, 116,000 construction jobs could be lost and the sector’s supply chains will be hit in the long term. This means the drop in delivery could continue over several years.

大发体育网站Polly Neate, of Shelter, said the Government had "a perilously short window to avert a lengthy housebuilding crash that will wipe out tens of thousands of new homes and jobs.”

大发体育网站As recession bites, more households will join the waiting lists for social housing, added Ms Neate. “The pandemic has shown that a safe home is fundamental, but just not enough people have one.”

Steve Turner, of the Home Builders Federation, an industry body, said: "Builders are getting back to work but the recovery needs nurturing and policy decisions will be key."

大发体育网站The looming deadline for the Help to Buy scheme, which is due to be reformed in April 2021 and to end in 2023, is also of particular concern, added Mr Turner.