The latest research from Searchland, the development site sourcing specialists, has revealed that reclassifying just 1% of the nation’s green belt could unlock the potential to deliver almost 738,000 new homes with an estimated market value of £317.5bn.
The green belt across England currently covers an estimated 1,638,150 hectares, or 16.382bn square metres, accounting for some 12.6% of the nation’s total land area. With the average new-build plot requiring an estimated 222 square metres of space, England’s entire greenbelt could facilitate some 73.790m new homes.
Its development has long been a controversial topic but there have been numerous calls for wrongly classified areas of green belt to be opened up for development in order to help address the housing crisis.
Should just 1% of the nation’s green belt be reclassified for housing development, it would enable the delivery of an estimated 737,905 new homes across England.
With the average new-build commanding £430,229 in the current market, that’s a potential £317.468bn in new housing stock reaching the market.
The South East is home to the greatest level of green belt property development potential, with the region home to 18.6% of England’s total green belt. Developing on just 1% of this green belt would enable house builders to deliver 137,581 new homes with a total market value of £72bn.
Developing just 1% of green belt land across the West Midlands (119,347), Yorkshire and the Humber (118,144), the North West (115,063) and East of England (104,306) would also enable the delivery of more than 100,000 new homes in each region.
Even in London, where green belt land accounts for just 2.1% of the national total, reclassifying and developing on 1% would bring a housing stock boost to the tune of 15,667 new homes.
Co-founder and CEO of Searchland, Mitchell Fasanya, commented:
“With whisperings of yet another Help to Buy reboot, it seems as though the government intends to maintain their strategy of fuelling buyer demand while maintaining a head in the sand approach to actually building more homes.
The result of which is a dangerously inflated market and record high house prices that the average homebuyer simply can’t afford.
The development of green belt land is an unpopular solution, largely due to the misconception that it involves concreting over areas of outstanding natural beauty. The reality is that there is a great deal of green belt that simply isn’t classified correctly and the green belt itself is actually a buffer between urban sprawl and the countryside.
There have been recent examples whereby green belt land has been successfully reclassified to provide much needed homes and it really does beg the question, why does the government remain so intent on ignoring a solution that is staring them in the face?”