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Housing Minister says 300,000 new homes target is reachable

The target of building 300,000 new homes a year in England by the mid 2020s is getting closer with more properties being built than in every year apart from one over the last three decades, the industry has been told.

Housing Minister Esther McVey told the annual RESI Conventions, the conference for property developers, investors, landlords and house builders, that she is confident the target will be reached and revealed that in Greater Manchester, the number of extra homes built is rising by more than 12% and in Birmingham by 80%.

But she also revealed that the number of new homes being built has fallen in London. ‘While the trend is heading upwards, I’ve found there’s still serious barriers stopping that progress unnecessarily, and we need to understand what those barriers are, understand what is getting in our way so we can remove them,’ she said.

She also said that more homes should be built on brownfield sites. ‘Regeneration must be something we should be most proud of, turning round, I call it, unloved land,’ she told delegates, adding that greenfield land and greenfield sites should be a last resort.

She announced that councils will receive a share of nearly £2 million to crackdown on illegal development, including in the green belt. The funding will be for enforcement officers, new technology and legal costs.

She also said that Britain can lead the way in terms of technology and innovation in the housing sector and that new homes need to reflect the needs of people including young single people, divorcees, elderly, disabled people and families.

‘We could become global leaders in the world of house building, of high end engineering, manufacturing, 3D specification, architecture and traditional build too. I see clusters of excellence across the country, of where modular building is being developed in the North East, Yorkshire, and the North West. I see, a Centre of Construction Excellence being established in the North of the country, combining all these things, so we can have a newly found industry,’ she pointed out.

‘You’re not just living in a home, you can prosper from having a job in creating those homes, when we are building at such a significant scale and pace, the career opportunities are huge. And we can set new housing standards for the rest of the world,’ she added.