England faces one million housing shortage by 2010

The former chief executive of Barratt Developments has warned that England faces a housing shortage of one million homes by 2010.

David Pretty, chairman of the New Homes Marketing Board, claims that the housing shortfall is headed for “dangerously high” levels.

He says: “The reality is that we are forming households at the rate of around 230,000 each and every year – that is the level we need to meet.

“But we haven’t built in anywhere near those quantities for many years, so we now have a serious backlog which continues to build up.”

Pretty estimates that in the last decade an average of 160,000 homes have been built every year, compared to a pent-up demand for property which could escalate to over one million homes in less than two years.

The disparity between demand and supply means that when the housing market does recover house prices could rocket, further adding to first-time buyers’ woes.

Pretty adds: “Sadly, a generation of first-time buyers has already been sacrificed and it will happen to another generation unless we take decisive action.

“We must not allow first-time buyers to be forgotten, not just because of the social consequences in the future, but also because they are absolutely crucial for the general health of the housing market and our future economic prosperity.”