Making the case for construction stimulus

Thu, Sep 12, 2013, 00:00

The anomaly that has seen house prices rise in some urban areas, despite lagging prices elsewhere, has been further highlighted by a call from housing charity Threshold for more houses to be built to accommodate growing population needs.

In its pre-budget submission, presented yesterday, it says the housing shortage could become a “full blown crisis” if it goes unchecked in Budget 2014. According to Bob Jordan (above), Threshold chief executive: “Up to 30,000 new houses need to be constructed annually to meet the ongoing demand for new homes. However, since the recession, housing construction has virtually ceased, with only 8,500 new units built last year.”

It points to an increasing population, with many families in overcrowded apartments that are unsuitable for children, and grown adults forced to live with their parents because they can’t afford a home. Threshold is asking for a stimulus in the coming Budget for housing construction in the areas where there is demand.

No doubt this will come as music to the ears of the Construction Industry Federation who have been saying the same thing for a long time. While the case is clear for shortages to be addressed for people buying their first home, are we really ready for a return to Government intervention in the property market?