Fears of huge ‘housing crisis’ as building slows

Home building in areas of the Black Country and Staffordshire slowed last year, figures suggest.

Housing charity Shelter warned a shortage of affordable homes along with a shrinking economy could mean the country faces “an even bigger housing crisis”.

In Dudley, work started on around 190 new homes between January and September last year, according to data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). It was down 65 per cent compared to the same period in 2019 – where there were roughly 550 new home builds.

The figures show around 290 new homes were built in Wolverhampton between January and September – down 61 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, where 740 were built.

While in Sandwell work started on around 140 new homes in the same period – down by 42 per cent compared to 2019, where 240 new homes were built.

And in Stafford, the figures show around 310 new homes were built in that period – 16 per cent down on the 370 built in 2019. In South Staffordshire, work started on around 240 new homes according to the data – which was at the same level as the same period in 2019.

But in Cannock Chase and Walsall, the figures increased compared to 2019. In Cannock Chase, work started on around 330 new homes between January and September – up by 18 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, where 280 were built.

'Volatile'

And the figures show in Walsall,work started on around 210 new homes in the same period – up by 24 per cent compared to 2019, where 170 new homes were built.

However, the MHCLG cautioned that quarterly figures for local authority areas are “volatile”.

Shelter chief executive Polly Neate says she fears a worsening housing crisis, and has called on the Government to invest in more social housing.

She said: “It’s good developers have found ways to start building homes again while the pandemic continues, but compared to a year ago, housebuilding starts are down, so it’s not quite back to normal.

“The problem isn’t just the pandemic, it’s the economy.

"If it continues to shrink, the housing market will stall, and we will have an even bigger housing crisis in our hands.”

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