New homes deficit looms for the next Mayor of London

Posted 25 February 2016 by Keith Osborne

Stirling Ackroyd's New Homes Monitor unveils a city well short of its new homes target and lacking a coordinated approach to meeting its housing supply needs...

With Londoners going to the polls on 5 May to vote for the successor to Boris Johnson in the role of Mayor of London, new data from respected agency Stirling Ackroyd shows that whoever ends up in office will be facing a new homes deficit over the coming years.

Despite being a region where new build homes account for a greater proportion of the housing market than the national average, the capital is way behind its needs for new properties – some 22% behind its annual building targets, according to the company’s latest New Homes Monitor.

In 2015, 32,910 new homes were granted approval by planning authorities across Greater London, compared to an annual target of 42,000. The number of applications presented in 2015 totalled 42,910, but only 77% of these were approved.

New homes approved in London 2015​Figures differ wildly from borough to borough across the capital. Greenwich permitted the most new homes last year (3,666), while Westminster allowed the highest proportion of approvals (95%). At the other end of the scale, Richmond (where mayoral hopeful Zac Goldsmith is an MP) approved just 140 new homes, and Bromley planners only allowed 30% of potential new homes for approval.

Andrew Bridges, managing director of Stirling Ackroyd, comments: “London has the finance, the space and without doubt the demand for new homes – but it seems this great city doesn’t have permission. With less than three months to go until London’s next mayor is elected, it’s time for candidates to get serious about places for Londoners to live.

“London’s election chatter may be stepping up, but no one is facing up to the housing reality. For all the optimism on offer, there is very little focus on practical steps. Fresh candidates of all stripes should be willing to rise to the housing challenge. Politics and personalities aside, today’s housing deficit is deepening and the electoral clock is ticking. The mantra in 2016 should be planning, planning, planning.”

“East London is keeping up the energy when it comes to London’s housing challenge. More receptive planning departments indicate a growing recognition of the immense benefits of new homes – a sign that a borough is looking to the future as much as current needs of residents. Tower Hamlets in particular has plenty of capacity for new homes. Half of the top ten new build hotspots identified in our New Build Bible lie within this borough.”

“Different parts of the capital are confused about which housing direction to take and this has led to an unsustainable mix of leniency and rigidness. London is missing a consistent plan – something ambitious future mayors should be able to offer.”

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