The housing supply has increased by a million in the past five years

5th Dec 2019

Claim

Since 2010 there has been a considerable increase in homebuilding.

Conclusion

Correct, the number of new homes is up since 2010.

 

The Conservatives have delivered a million homes in the last five years in England.

 

A million homes have been added to the housing supply over the past five years.

 

Last year, the Conservatives delivered the highest number of homes for almost 30 years.

 

Last year saw the biggest increase in the housing supply for thirty years.

Claim 1 of 3

“Since 2010 there has been a considerable increase in homebuilding. We have delivered a million homes in the last five years in England: last year, we delivered the highest number of homes for almost 30 years.”

Conservative party manifesto, 2019

There are two different ways of measuring the amount of new homes created. The Conservatives’ claims are correct if you look at the additional number of homes in England, but not the number of new houses built.

The number of additional homes will include things like a house being split into multiple flats, or changing the use of a building from a shop to a flat, as well as actual new builds. 

The number of homes in England did grow by 1.04 million in the five years between 2014/15 and 2018/19, as the manifesto says.

It’s also correct that last year saw the highest increase in homes for 30 years.

Last year 241,130 homes were added to the housing supply. This is the highest number since 2000, when comparable records began. Although this clearly does not cover the last thirty years, historical figures used by the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research suggest that net increases have not been over this level since at least the 1920s, although they were close in the 1960s.

However, looking at just the number of new homes built (excluding things like conversions), 741,920 new homes were completed in England over the past five years and last year saw one of the highest increases, but not the highest increase in thirty years. It was slightly higher in 2007/08, for example, and also in 1988/89 and 1989/90. 

Questions about statistical definitions aside, it’s worth mentioning that while these figures have been posted under the Conservatives, it’s not the case that they were built by the government. The vast majority of homes are built by private companies, not the state. The Government has supported increases in supply through changes to the planning system which aim to make private building more likely alongside other initiatives to subsidise house purchases and establishing infrastructure.

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