Britain's housing supply is going to get a lot worse because there aren't enough builders

Britain’s housing crisis could get much worse because there aren’t enough builders to supply the homes needed to address the country’s supply and demand balance, according to a survey conducted by estate agent Knight Frank.

Questioning a number of Britain’s biggest housebuilders, the survey found that 73% thought “the cost and availability of labour will have a negative impact on future housing supply.”

There was also a general concern that a Brexit — Britain voting to leave the EU — will only make the acquisition of skilled builders harder thanks to the “impaired” movement of labour.

Many developers were hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis and are still recovering. Since then a lot of skilled labourers have moved away from the sector, resulting a shortage of workers. An ageing workforce that is hard to replace with younger labourers has only exacerbated the situation, the report says.

The country’s largest housebuilders, along with the Home Builders Federation (HBF), have pledged to deliver one million homes by 2020, according to Knight Frank, and all agree there needs to be “significant further action from the housebuilding industry” to keep up with demand.

Despite the labour strains, more than half of respondents said their businesses would see an increase in starts and completions on houses over the next year, with 56% saying they planned to recruit more skilled workers in the next three years.

Over half of those questioned added that the government had not been helpful enough in loosening building regulations, saying they had not seen an increase in access to public sector land.

Meanwhile, the London luxury housing market has the opposite problem — oversupply has resulted in developers offering “stamp duty discounts” in order to shift units. More than 35,000 “prime” properties are set to be built in the capital over the next decade.

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