“After an encouraging period of increased output in the housebuilding sector, we have suffered the UK’s lowest quarterly housing output for two years. A nose-dive in completed dwellings at the start of 2018 – down from nearly 46,000 a year ago and 55,000 at the end of 2017 to below 39,000 – amounts to a sharp turn in the wrong direction.
“The private sector has been particularly affected: despite building the majority of new homes, completions are noticeably down year-on-year while housing associations and local authorities have both increased their output.
“Last year we forecasted a housing shortfall of almost a million homes by 2022 if the UK doesn’t act immediately to correct the course of the housing market. Despite this urgent need, the void between supply and demand is still widening by the day, continuing to push house prices towards the limit of what first-time-buyers can afford.
“Underlying appetite for homeownership should help to sustain housing transaction levels as, with limited movement in the market, available stock is likely to remain in demand. But a sustainable, long-term solution to the housing crisis is clearly still a pressing concern.”