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February 25, 2015

Which London boroughs hit their housing targets last year, and which completely failed?

By City Monitor Staff

Great news, everyone! London built 18,750 houses last year.

Less great news: to keep up with demand it should have built 56,400. Ah well, can’t win them all.

We’ve written before about which parts of London are expected to see the most growth. Now, thanks to figures compiled and published this week by the National Housing Federation (NHF), we can see which are growing the most quickly at the moment.

Let’s start with an easy one. These are the number of new homes in each borough completed in 2014, ranked from most to least.

Source: NHF.

You can see instantly that the number of completions varies by an order of magnitude or two. Last year, 1,630 new homes were built in the eastern borough of Newham. In west London’s plush Kensington & Chelsea, by contrast, the number was, er, 70. The top seven boroughs built more homes than the rest combined.

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The NHF also published numbers, taken from the government and the Town & Country Planning Association, showing how many homes should have been built in each borough to keep up with demand. In this graph, we’ve ranked the boroughs by this notional “target”, with those that need most housing on the left.

Source: NHF.

Tower Hamlets’ record seems less impressive when you realise it’s less than half the way to building the number of homes it actually needs. In fact, all but two of the boroughs are building a faction of the new homes they should be.

Here’s one last graph. This time we’ve adjusted the scale, so that 100 per cent of the target is always the same length, and you can read across to compare boroughs’ performance against need. But we’ve kept the order of the bars the same: the further to the right you go, the easier it should be to hit that target.

Source: NHF.

On this scale, the record of certain boroughs – Harrow, Richmond, Kensington, Brent – looks even worse than before. And the predominance of the red area of the graph highlights quite how far London is from actually meeting its housing need.

This is just a snapshot of course – one year’s figures, no reflection of a trend – but all the same, it’s hard to look at these numbers without quietly thinking: oh, god.

This article is from the CityMetric archive: some formatting and images may not be present.
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