Massive new homes slump: housebuilding starts by private builders in London fall 15 per cent


The number of new homes started by private housebuilders in London fell 15 per cent last year to the lowest level since 2013, figures reveal today.

Developers began building 23,130 homes in the capital in 2018, compared with 27,356 in 2017 and 33,774 in the recent peak year of 2015, according to data from analysts Molior London.

It means private housing starts have fallen by a third since the year that Sadiq Khan declared he would run for Mayor, pledging to tackle the housing crisis.

The London Assembly’s housing committee was meeting today to discuss an internal report on the Mayor’s progress towards hitting housing targets.

15 %

Fall last year in new homes started by private firms in London 

The report says: “London has never recently been further away from building the number of homes it needs”, with a shortfall in 2016-17 of more than 24,500.

Molior’s latest quarterly report said its figures for London’s new homes market “make for depressing reading”.

In Zone 1 there has been a 60 per cent collapse in starts over three years, to the lowest level since 2011.

The report said planning delays, council and City Hall demands for more affordable housing and rising costs had curbed enthusiasm for building homes in London.

60%

Drop in Zone 1 new home starts over the past three years

A huge backlog of unsold flats is building up in central London. Almost half homes under construction in the capital have no buyers lined up, compared with just a third in 2014, according to the Molior report — based on interviews with the developers of all 714 schemes of 20 homes or more across London.

James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, said: “What London needs is far more council, social rented, and other genuinely affordable homes.

“That’s why last year Sadiq launched the first-ever City Hall programme dedicated to new council housing, and he started building a record number of genuinely affordable homes — including, as the London Assembly report admits, ‘the highest number of social rent starts since 2010/11’. ”

He added that London was “far too reliant on big private developers” and the Government must give City Hall and London councils more investment and powers to build new homes.

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