Lies, damn lies and house-building statistics


A report out today says that the government’s house-building statistics under-report new build totals by as much as 20%.

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) report Ghost towns shows how flawed methodology and poor returns from Local Authorities mean 30,000 new builds a year are not being counted in the official numbers.

Analysis indicates that the house-building statistics published quarterly and annual by the Department of Communities & Local Government (DCLG) under-report new build completions in 75% of local authorities with an average of 153 new homes ‘lost’ in each of those areas.

More than half of new build homes in some areas, including Birmingham, Liverpool, Leicester, Salford and many London boroughs, are completely unaccounted for in the quarterly series, the HBF says.

HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley said: “Housebuilding has increased significantly in recent years but the continual publication and use of inaccurate statistics is painting a negative picture that is undermining the progress being made in tackling the housing shortage. The government’s housing policies and the industry are delivering, and it is incredibly frustrating that official statistics are not reflecting what is happening on the ground but instead presenting an open goal for critics.”

According to HBF analysis, the published data excluded:

  •  At least 75% the London Boroughs of Brent, Wandsworth, Hammersmith & Fulham and Kensington & Chelsea,
  •  1,280 new homes in Birmingham (two-thirds of all new build completions)
  •  920 new homes in Liverpool (63% of all new build completions)
  • 640 new homes in Salford (half of all new build completions)
  • 570 new homes in Leicester (6 out of 10 new build completions)
  • 570 new homes in Sheffield (40% of all new build completions)
  • 400 new homes in Chester West & Chester (29% of all new build completions)




This article was published on 19 Sep 2016 (last updated on 19 Sep 2016).

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