DTZ planning director reports fall in housebuilding starts

Michael Hunt

Andrew Thomson, planning director at DTZ in Manchester, has stated the fall in housebuilding starts is the lowest since the 1920s.

In a report released today, Thomson said the housebuliding sector is in disarray and local authorities are laying off planning staff because of a fall in application income.

Thomson said: "The Government are consulting on their proposals to achieve zero carbon homes by 2016 and the Community Infrastructure Levy is due to come into force in April 2009. LPA's are falling behind with their development plans and the delivery of affordable housing has collapsed. Large tracts of inner city brownfield land are blighted by apartment developments as a result of Government requiring higher densities in our city centres and the face of our high streets are about to change with the likes of Woolworths, MFI and Whittards going into administration. Who knows what the forthcoming year holds for the development industry."

Thomson believes the Government's housing target of 240,000 new homes a year is unrealistic in the current economy.

He adds: "New build housing markets cannot recover sufficiently quickly enough to respond to the Government housing 'target' – or is it now an aspiration? Whatever it is there will not be 240,000 houses delivered this year and probably not for the foreseeable future. Indeed this number of houses have never been built and it will take a quantum leap in the way that the housebuilding industry is structured to deliver anywhere near 200,000 new units a year."

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