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This paper has been superseded by Library briefing paper Tackling the under-supply of housing in England (7671).

Although there is no set definition of housing ‘need’ and ‘demand’ they can broadly be described as follows. Housing ‘demand’ is a market driven concept and relates to the type and number of houses that households will choose to occupy based on preference and ability to pay. Housing ‘need’ is an indicator of existing deficit: the number of households that do not have access to accommodation that meets certain normative standards. This measure mainly refers to the level of need for more or improved social housing. The term ‘housing requirement’ is sometimes used to combine these two measures to generate an overall picture of the housing market.

The number of households in England is projected to grow and more housing will need to be constructed in order to accommodate this growth. It can take time for policies and investment to translate into housing starts; as a result of this the Government uses medium to long term projections of population and household growth to produce estimates of the number of new homes that will be needed. The Government has not published any house building targets, preferring to leave it to local authorities to work to meet local housing need. The Labour Party has announced a commitment, if elected, to build 200,000 a year by the end of the next Parliament.

The most recent estimate of housing need and demand in England was published by the Town and Country Planning Association in September 2013 and covers the period 2011 to 2031. The report represents unofficial estimates but is based on the Government’s official household interim projections for 2011-2021 published in April 2013.

The report estimated that 240,000 to 245,000 additional homes would be required each year to 2031 in order to meet newly arising demand and need in England.

A total of 107,820 permanent dwellings were completed England in 2012/13. For the UK as a whole the figure was 135,400.

Live tables on house building are available on the website. The Library also provides economic indicators for housing which are updated every month.

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