Economist behind housing target figures 13 years ago says she is ‘amazed’ they are still being quoted

The economist who came up with one of the most widely used figures for the number of new homes needed each year has questioned the continued reliance on her research.

Dame Kate Barker wrote an influential report in 2004, while a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, that said 233,000 to 285,000 new houses were needed in England each year.

But while the report has been gathering dust deep in the Houses of Parliament, the numbers are still relied upon whenever the housing shortage and problems with supply are mentioned.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, she cautioned against just focusing on the supply issue and said more also needed to be done to improve rental standards and to free up land.

She said: “I’m amazed people still use my numbers. Sometimes I think I’ve been responsible for a narrative which makes supply too important.

“Supply is important but things do change.

“One of the reasons household supply has been very tight for the past decade is because we have had very strong net migration – it would be ludicrous to deny it – and if that changes it will change the balance between supply and demand.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/10/08/homes-target-may-never-met-warns-housing-guru/

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3 Comments

  1. Will

    Dame Barker’s comment

    “Supply is important but things do change. One of the reasons household supply has been very tight for the past decade is because we have had very strong net migration – it would be ludicrous to deny it – and if that changes it will change the balance between supply and demand.”

    All politicians and housing charities take note are you being ludicrous? are you one of those quoting her out of date report?

    Are you taking into account the effects that Brexit is having on current migration rates???  Are you still blaming Landlords for every housing problem? Is anti Landlord legislation actually solving the issues or political lip service to the masses adversely affected by Government failures to be pro-active in planning housing supply?

     

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  2. AgencyInsider

    Thank goodness Kate Barker has finally put to sleep her once-pertinent report. It was a good piece of work when it came out but it has been out of date for years.

    Unfortunately, just like certain online agents, politicians and commentators will use whatever ‘facts’ they can to promote their message/cause. No matter that said ‘facts’ may, in fact, be years out of date, incorrect, or unproven.

    The gullible and the uninformed will continue to swallow those ‘facts’ hook, line and sinker. And that is all that matters.

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  3. Anonymous Coward

    I grant you that Brexit MIGHT have altered the pitch a bit, but let’s assume for just one moment that the report was accurate.

    How many millions of properties still need to be built to cope with the current shortfall?

    The issues in the report were relevant right up to and including the Brexit vote and whilst net immigration is down, the population of the UK is hardly going to drop by much.

    In fact I did a quick bit of research and as off the 24th August 2017 the annual NET immigration rate was 246,000 people. (The Independent quoting ONS figures).

    If we assume family units of 5 (double the UK average) that’s just over 49,000 homes required or 946 a week.

    If we assume 2.5 then it’s 98,400 or 1,892 per week.

    Since the pressure on housing already exists, can someone explain to me what exactly the right thing to do is?

    Property prices in the South East are skyrocketing still, even in these turbulent times.

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