Despite the Government promising to deliver 200,000 new homes by 2020, a survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has revealed a considerable slowdown in the construction of new homes in both the private and public sector.
The RICS UK Construction Market Survey has shown that private housing workloads rose at their slowest pace since the last quarter of 2012.
Across all sectors in London, 20 per cent more respondents saw workloads rise rather than fall during the first quarter of 2016, but this figure has dropped from 36 per cent in the last quarter of 2015.
This easing off in the private housing sector has not been offset by any increase in the construction of public housing, with growth in this sector remaining broadly unchanged from the previous quarter.
The news comes just a few months after Chancellor George Osborne’s ‘We Are The Builders’ speech, where he pledged the Government’s commitment to the construction sector.
The RICS believe that a focus on policy around the creation of new starter homes is not the only solution. “There is an issue around the availability of land on which new houses can be built,” said RICS Chief Economist, Simon Rubinson, “we would like to see more being done to free up private brownfield sites.”
The survey has shown that one of the biggest barriers to growth in the construction sector is planning delays, but the atmosphere of uncertainty surrounding the EU referendum isn’t helping either.
“We know that a range of sectors have been affected by these issues as investors look to delay any decisions until a final outcome has been determined, and construction is no exception,” said Rubinson.
Photo credit: Pat Guiney