Mayor’s home targets under threat as sites fail to meet construction targets

Sadiq Khan’s ambitious new homes targets are under threat because thousands of sites with full planning consent for development have been mothballed, according to figures.

In 2014, housebuilders were given permission for schemes that would have created 54,941 new homes, but three years later work had started on only 29,701 — or just over half.

The “attrition rate” — the proportion of homes not built within councils’ standard three-year time limit — of 46 per cent is a dramatic increase from 33 per cent in 2016. 

The problem is particularly acute in outer London. Only 1,029 homes were built in Zone 5 last year compared with 10,106 in Zone 2. 

The Mayor’s target is for 66,000 homes to be built each year. Ian Tasker, of accountants Grant Thornton, which carried out the research, said permission rates for applications were too low to meet this target.

UK house prices up 5.1% as London market remains sluggish but steady

Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of business group London First, which commissioned the figures, said: “Unless we get to grips with the housebuilding hold-ups, generations of Londoners will be priced out.”

Some developers accuse City Hall of making schemes unviable by setting a 35 per cent affordable housing target. Confidence in the London market has also been knocked since 2014 by higher taxes and the Brexit vote. 

Antony Stark, of developer Linea Homes, said: “It is understandable why some companies would choose to freeze building plans while they wait to see if the market improves.”

A spokesman for Mr Khan said one of his priorities was building “significantly more” affordable homes and that he “has made the case to the Chancellor that more needs to be done at a national level to make sure planning permissions turn into new homes”.

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