New research reveals 500,000 homes needed across the north of England over the next decade

At least 50,000 new homes are required every year for the next decade across the north of England to keep up with projected demand, according to new research published today.

Homes for the North, an alliance of the 19 largest housing associations across the north of England, including Riverside, commissioned housing and planning research specialists Lichfields to review the Strategic Housing Market Assessments (SHMAs) across 72 Local Planning Authorities and the seven City Regions across the North.

Examining each planning authority’s projections for new homes over the next 10 years (Objectively Assessed Need) and then testing these with new demographic modelling based upon plausible economic scenarios, the research reveals:

  • The shortfall in the North makes up nearly a third (29%) of the country’s entire projected housing need.
  • The bulk of the North’s housing need, around 70% in total, is concentrated in the seven City Regions, highlighting the projected demand in and around urban centres.

Broken down by City Region, the data reveals that

  • Leeds City Region is expected to have the most demand for new homes across the North, with projections accounting for almost a quarter (23%) or 13,088 homes every year over the next decade.
  • Manchester City Region is expected to need 10,682 homes every year for the next decade, while Liverpool City Region and Sheffield City Region are projected to require over 5,364 and 5,395 homes respectively every year over the next 10 years. 2,540 will be required in the Hull City Region over the next decade.
  • In the North East, 2,886 new homes every year will be required in Tyne and Wear and 1878 per annum will be required in the Tees Valley over the next decade.

Homes for the North says that while there is a need for all housing tenures, a shortage of good quality homes to rent is a particular concern, to meet the needs of large numbers of graduates and younger working families.

Homes for the North consists of some of the biggest and well-known housing associations in the north of England. Between them, the group expects to deliver nearly 15,000 homes in the North over the next 3 years. However, the chief executives of the alliance believe they could increase this number to over 80,000 over a 10 year period, covering almost a fifth of the 500,000 new builds required, if conditions allowed.

The group has set out some policy recommendations to help boost housing supply in the North:

  • A housing target for the North. To focus minds on the challenge, Government should adopt, alongside the national housebuilding target, regional ones including half a million homes over 10 years for the North. This should be embedded in the Infrastructure Strategy to cement the relationship between housing and supporting infrastructure.
  • Rent certainty to boost Housing Association development. Rents are currently reducing in line with Government policy, with a planned review before 2020. By putting in place a rent deal with Housing Associations, the Government would give the certainty HAs need to build more.
  • Combined Authorities given the powers and tools to kickstart regeneration: this could include identifying Housing Zones; adopting US-style ‘Pink Planning Zones’ with place-based deregulation, and exploring the role of Housing Development Orders on brownfield sites across a combined authority.
  • Use funds from the £3 billion Home Building Fund to help speed the rebalancing of the UK economy – allocating a proportion to the North to directly address market failure in housebuilding in these areas.

Mark Henderson, Chairman of Homes for the North, said: “Over the past decade 300,000 highly skilled workers have left the North. The government urgently need to stem this ‘brain drain’ to ensure our regional economies have the ability to flourish and compete with London.

“Housing could play a vital role. While much of the debate over projected demand has been centred around the capital, our research shows that almost a third of new homes in England will be required across our great northern regions, especially around cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle.

“To meet the expected demand in new housing across the North, we need a more diverse market. Providers like us could double the amount we build if only government released more public land for development and provided more certainty over future housing funding. “

Responding to the report, Sajid Javid MP, The Secretary of State for the Communities and Local Government, said: “We welcome Homes for the North’s ambition to drive up housing supply and provide many new homes where people want to live.

“This ambition is entirely in line with our recent White Paper, which set out our own plans to increase housing supply. Our £3bn Home Building Fund is helping to build thousands of high quality rented homes so tenants in the North and across the UK have greater choice and our flexible £7.1 billion Affordable Homes Programme is supporting regions around the country to achieve their housing ambitions. We recently announced a housing deal with Leeds, and hope to announce deals with other places at Autumn Budget.

“Through this package of measures we’re helping to fix the broken housing market and boost growth across the North.”

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