Back in May we wrote about how housebuilders were not building enough smaller properties to meet local needs. We have now received the latest data for completions in 2015-16. The chart above shows that although there has been some improvement we are still not building enough 1 and 3-bed properties and are significantly over-building 4+bed properties.
The analysis to support these conclusions is shown below.
First, according to the current Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), Hart needs to build 7,534 dwellings in the plan period running from 2011-2032. The SHMA is also very clear on the sizes and types of housing that needs to be built, including the number of affordable homes for the young and specialist housing for the elderly.
Working through the arithmetic, and using Hart’s target of 40% affordable homes, we need to build in total the following number and proportion of properties by number of bedrooms:
We can compare these proportions to the dwellings that have been built since 2010-11:
This shows that we have built around 80% of 1-bed properties that we should have done and around three quarters of the targeted proportion of 3-bed properties. We have built nearly twice as many 4+bed properties compared to the target.
Overall we think this means that Hart needs to get smarter about how it monitors planning permissions so that we get as close as possible to meeting the needs of local people set out in the SHMA, as opposed to simply building houses that will maximise developer profits. However, it does seem clear that more redevelopment of vacant offices on brownfield sites would create more opportunities for more smaller properties to help young people get on the housing ladder.