500,000 homes needed across the North of England

Regional housing provider Onward Homes has backed calls from Homes for the North for more support to deliver new housing across the region.

Onward Homes, which owns 41,000 properties across the North West, including Manchester and Liverpool, is one of 19 housing associations that make up Homes for the North.

Homes for the North has published a research report that said 500,000 homes are needed across the north of England over the next decade in order to meet projected demand.

Manchester City Region is expected to need 10,682 homes every year, and Liverpool City Region is projected to require over 5,364 every year.

The shortfall in the North makes up nearly a third (29%) of the country’s entire projected housing need.

Collectively, the 19 housing associations that make up Homes for the North, expect to deliver nearly 15,000 homes in the North over the next 3 years.

Onward Homes is committed to delivering up to 1,600 new homes across the North West over the next 5 years, and will invest over £200m in communities through new and improved homes.

Bronwen Rapley, CEO of Onward Homes, a member of Homes for the North, said; “Onward Homes is proud to be part of Homes for the North. The findings from this report reinforce what we have known in the region for some time. We need more homes, and we need quality homes, where families can grow, communities can thrive and local economies can prosper. To achieve this we need the support on a national level from government so that we as housing providers can achieve this.”

In its report Homes for the North has set out some policy recommendations to help boost housing supply.

The recommendations include a housing target for the North.

A target will focus minds on the challenge. ‘Government should adopt, alongside the national housebuilding target, regional ones including half a million homes over 10 years for the North. This should be embedded in the Infrastructure Strategy to cement the relationship between housing and supporting infrastructure.’

It also calls for the government to use funds from the £3 billion Home Building Fund to help speed the rebalancing of the UK economy – allocating a proportion to the North to directly address market failure in housebuilding in these areas.

Mark Henderson, Chairman of Homes for the North, said:

 “Over the past decade 300,000 highly skilled workers have left the North. The government urgently need to stem this ‘brain drain’ to ensure our regional economies have the ability to flourish and compete with London.

 “Housing could play a vital role. While much of the debate over projected demand has been centred around the capital, our research shows that almost a third of new homes in England will be required across our great northern regions, especially around cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle.

 “To meet the expected demand in new housing across the North, we need a more diverse market. Providers like us could double the amount we build if only government released more public land for development and provided more certainty over future housing funding. “

Responding to the report, Sajid Javid MP, The Secretary of State for the Communities and Local Government, said:

“We welcome Homes for the North’s ambition to drive up housing supply and provide many new homes where people want to live.

 “This ambition is entirely in line with our recent White Paper, which set out our own plans to increase housing supply. Our £3bn Home Building Fund is helping to build thousands of high quality rented homes so tenants in the North and across the UK have greater choice and our flexible £7.1 billion Affordable Homes Programme is supporting regions around the country to achieve their housing ambitions. We recently announced a housing deal with Leeds, and hope to announce deals with other places at Autumn Budget. 

“Through this package of measures we’re helping to fix the broken housing market and boost growth across the North.”

 Homes for the North, an alliance of the 19 largest housing associations across the north of England, commissioned housing and planning research specialists Lichfields to review the Strategic Housing Market Assessments (SHMAs) across 72 Local Planning Authorities and the seven City Regions across the North.