'Housebuilding can revive British economy'
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Development, Finance
Housebuilding can revive the British economy, industry experts at the Chartered Institute of Housing's (CIH) South East Conference and Exhibition have said.
Robert Grundy, director of housing and public sector at Savills, told an audience at Brighton's Hilton Metropole that building 100,000 new homes would add one percent to Britain’s GDP.
Mr Grundy said: "The number of new home starts is woefully low and the level of household projections much higher. We are simply not meeting the demand for housing. New homes create new jobs, and the money is being spent in the UK rather than the Far East."
Mr Grundy also challenged social housing providers in London on whether they could be using their assets more effectively, claiming that they should consider investing in lower-value areas in the capital.
Fellow speaker Dennis Turner, former chief economist at HSBC, added: “I’ve long believed that housing should be the spearhead for recovery. Five to six new jobs created for every new house built sounds very realistic.”
Mr Grundy added: “There is a great deal of uncertainty post 2015, we don’t know what’s going to happen and the government doesn’t know either.
“The policy environment is becoming much more pragmatic, about increasing supply rather than higher numbers of affordable housing. How are housing associations and local authorities going to respond to that?
“Could you provide more houses in other areas using the capital tied up in your high-value homes? There are lower value areas in London with good travel times and accessibility, it’s the basic physical real estate that is holding them back.
“We don’t have a coherent strategy in London and the South East and it’s a challenge for the mayor to instigate more cross-borough co-operation to provide more housing.
“Many of you will say this is social cleansing but I’m arguing it should be done in a sensitive way. Is your priority existing tenants sitting in high-value housing or the unhoused?”
The CIH's South East Conference and Exhibition is taking place between 5-7 March.