How Many Homes, a research project commissioned by the Town and Country Planning Association, found that housing projection figures for the next 15 years are actually lower than previously anticipated – because young people are finding that they are cannot afford to form independent households. Now 222,000 homes are needed each year across England - 22,000 less than previously predicted.

This change in trend comes after the economic crisis. Rising house prices and the increase in precarious employment and part time work means that young people are living with parents or in house shares for longer, rather than forming a household of their own. It is also likely that rising student debt levels and potential future welfare reform will cause the number of future households to drop.

Of the new homes needed, a staggering 55% are needed in London and the surrounding area. In contrast, in the north east, the number of new households is expected to only rise by 11% over 20 years.

Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the Town and Country Planning Association said:

This research shows that, while it looks as if the projected number of needed homes has dropped, this is because many people now can’t afford their own home – either to rent or buy - and are living with parents or other people longer than they would like to.

The government needs to see this as a wakeup call. It has already fallen behind on their targets for house building, and this is now having a devastating effect on young people. More needs to be done to build the necessary number of high quality, affordable homes for people who need them.  

The research based on DCLG and ONS figures was conducted by Professor Christine Whitehead (LSE) and Neil McDonald, (Visiting Fellow at the Cambridge Centre for Housing & Planning Research) and launched in Parliament by Lord Best today. The research also shows that the government is already falling short of its targets to build new homes. Only 54% of the homes under previous government targets were built between 2011/12 and 2014/15.

The report is available to download here