Building targets ‘won’t be met’

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The bosses of housebuilding firms across the country say that Government targets to build 240,000 new homes a year by 2016 are unrealistic and won’t be met.

The research, by accountants BDO, reveals that 95 per cent of board level executives at housebuilders think that Government targets are unachievable, with 26 per cent doubting that they will ever be reached.

Bosses also said that planning red tape, constrained funding options and limited land availability were the biggest barriers to building.

And despite measures introduced to help speed up the planning process, it still is the biggest cause of delay to housebuilding, according to 61 per cent of housebuilders.

Paul Clarke, a partner at BDO LLP, warns that Yorkshire’s housing shortage, which is pushing up house prices and rents to unreachable levels for many people, will soon reach breaking point.

He said: “Fewer than half of the number of new homes needed in Yorkshire are currently being built and, with the average home in the region costing eight times the average income, affordability has exacerbated the problem.

“Onerous planning procedures and the absence of much-needed development-ready land are contributing significantly to the lack of new homes coming to the market. We need a significant shift in both the speed and direction of housebuilding to have any chance of balancing our supply and demand crisis.”

Faster planning procedures and fewer regulatory hurdles are at the top of builders’ wish list for government intervention. Housebuilders also wanted to see more imaginative and effective financial solutions to fill the funding gap.