Over a third of respondents to the YouGov survey conducted by the New Homes Marketing Board (www.new-homes.co.uk) said the housing shortage was a ‘very important’ national issue and a further 45% felt it ‘fairly important.’ Less than 10% thought it unimportant.

Despite this acknowledgment, certain myths surrounding the housing shortage are not borne out by the facts, according to the NHMB.

These include the idea that the Greenbelt is decreasing (the Greenbelt has increased by around 65,000 acres, argues the NHMB) and house builders are holding onto land that could be built on (known as landbanking). However, house builders do not have land holdings beyond their immediate business needs.

David Pretty, chairman of the New Homes Marketing Board says, ‘As a snapshot of the great British public’s thinking, this poll is both encouraging and disturbing. People really do now recognise we have a housing crisis, are understandably worried by it and seem to accept urgent action must be taken to address it.

‘But when it comes to the detail, significant numbers of people still buy into the hoary old myths about the Greenbelt and countryside disappearing under concrete and builders landbanking, and many more are confused or unsure about the implications for themselves, their communities and the nations.’

With 82% of those polled thinking the support of local communities was important to the new homes development process, Mr Pretty adds that ‘without the support of communities, the Government’s housing targets are going to be very difficult to achieve.’

* houses for sale