SE Housing Plan ‘Unnecessary’

Government plans to build up to 141,000 new homes annually in the South East are exaggerated and unnecessary, according to a new report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

The thinktank says that 59,000 homes per year, which should be provided to those who cannot afford current property prices, would be enough to satisfy the market demand which has seen house prices multiply over the past decade.

The report was compiled in response to last year?s Barker Review, which concluded that construction should be substantially increased in order to curb house price inflation, and has since gone on to form the basis of the Deputy Prime Minister?s plans to increase construction levels in the South East.

However, the IPPR?s study is critical of the methodologies used in compiling the Barker Review, saying that it does not prove that house price inflation is linked to housing supply, and that the construction may not ease prices.

?The volatility of the housing market in the UK causes some concern periodically in relation to macroeconomic stability, but it is unclear this has much to do with the overall supply of housing,? says the report.

?It is also not clear that the methodology for estimating how far the underlying trend in house price inflation would respond to increases in supply is robust enough, especially to set targets for ?affordability? region by region,? it adds.

The study goes on to reveal the results of separate analysis into how many homes should be built in the region, saying that 59,000 homes per year, less than half of Barker?s recommended 141,000, would be enough to reduce price growth by the desired amount.

The report calls into question the policy makers? approach to setting construction targets in order to curb price growth: ?Such an approach seems a blunt and probably ineffective tool in a complex market and one, moreover, subject to speculative pressures,? it says.

Neil Sinden, Policy Director at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, welcomed the report, saying: ?The Government?s housing plans are one of the biggest threats facing the environment. They affect the quality of life of us all. An urgent rethink is required now if we are to avert an unnecessary environmental disaster.?