David Pretty, chairman of the New Homes Marketing Board, believes the housing shortfall is headed for dangerously high levels.
He said: “The country is forming households at the rate of around 230,000 a year and that is the level of housing we must meet.
“We have not built in anywhere near that quantity for many years so we have a serious backlog that is continuing to build.”
Pretty estimates that in the past decade an average of 160,000 homes have been built each year compared with pent-up demand which could rise to more than one million homes in less than two years.
The disparity between demand and supply means that when the housing market recovers prices could rocket, further adding to first-time buyers’ woes.
Pretty added: “Sadly, a generation of first-time buyers has already been sacrificed and this will happen to another generation unless we take action. First-time buyers are crucial to our future economic prosperity.”