David Pretty, who is also chair-man of the New Homes Marketing Board, is alarmed by the prospective shortage of homes compared with rising demand.
He says: “Households are being formed at the rate of around 230,000 a year but we haven’t built anywhere near that number, so we have a serious backlog which continues to grow. By 2010, pent-up demand for homes could be over one million. That is dangerously high.”
But he adds that this gap could be plugged by making use of the equivalent number of properties that are currently not occupied.
David Ireland, chief executive of charity Empty Homes Agency, says: “Unless we take action now we are on course for over a million empty homes in the UK at a time of record housing need.”