A “radical new approach” to housing policy and a renewed focus on modular construction will be needed if the government is to hit its 300,000 new homes a year target, experts warned today.
The Housing & Finance Institute (HFI) has urged the government to focus on modern construction methods to drive up the number of newbuilds and boost productivity.
Though the number of new homes started in 2016-17 rose to the highest level since 2008-09, at 160,000, the number completed stood at only 148,000, a small increase from the previous year's figure of 140,000.
Modular homes are houses which are built through constructing separate parts of the building (modules) off-site before putting them together on location.
Natalie Elphicke, chief executive of the HFI, said: “The ambition of the government is to be applauded. But make no mistake, 300,000 new homes is a truly tough target.
“Housing-based infrastructure has been creaking at the current rates of delivery and simply isn’t ready to deliver at nearly double current rates. Much more needs to be done, and soon.”
The think-tank also pushed the government to formally make housing a national infrastructure priority, on top of introducing a step-change in financing to raise the money necessary to fund the new builds.
This includes making efforts to bring public and private finance together, through capitalising on potential from local authorities as well as making use of the capacity in private finance markets and pensions funds seeking housing assets.