Britain needs more new homes for two reasons. Firstly, throughout the 21st century we have not built a sufficient number to meet the ever-growing demand of the population increase. Secondly, the activity of building has an important knock-on effect to the rest of the economy - and gives us a chance to replace ageing housing stock, develop seemingly derelict 'brownfield' land and attract new people (and new money) into the community.
In 2011 the nation only built some 100,000 homes, half the target set by the Government and some 38% of the 2007 peak. Worryingly even this low number is dropping, with new starts down 50% in 2012. One clear reason is the difficulty in obtaining a mortgage with lenders typically requiring a 20% deposit (in early 2007 loans of 120% of the value of the property were available to first time buyers - the additional cash for furniture, electrical goods and carpets which the buyer would have otherwise purchased with shop credit).
One key problem is the planning requirement that 35% of units on a development of over 15 houses must be affordable. This onerous requirement makes the entire development unaffordable to the builder, thus contributing to the lack of starts.
You will have seen figures in this journal as to the number of houses required in Ipswich, targets that have recently been abandoned (with the demise of the Regional Assembly) but the requirement for somewhere to live remains and we must build, both inside the Borough boundary and in the parishes immediately adjacent.