The latest housebuilding statistics released by London City Hall appear at first glance to be positive but Russell Quirk, the property expert to MovingHomeAdvice, has called into question the accuracy of the numbers.
The latest building statistics for the 2019- 2020 financial year have just been released by London City Hall, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan took to Twitter to share the news with his 2.3 million followers.
He tweeted: “Last year was a record-breaking year for building new affordable homes in London.”
Not everyone agrees the statistics are worthy of praise, particularly Russell Quirk from MovingHomeAdvice. He’s looked into the headline figure and believes there is little basis for the positivity being shown.
He explains: The numbers are split into two sections, ‘housing starts’ – a shovel in the ground or a piece of signed paperwork; and ‘completions’ – the actual delivery of a house that someone can live in.
In 2019/20 as just closed, affordable housing starts were 17,256 and, yes, that’s a good number on the face of it. But, dig deeper into the GLA’s own numbers, and you note that completions in the same year were just 7,775 homes.
In the past four years, the Mayor has overseen 51,771 affordable housing starts. But just 25,608 completions. One must ask, ‘where have all the houses gone?’
“We’ve all heard of the Bermuda Triangle and how it makes planes and boats disappear,” he says. “But no one would have guessed that there is a similar phenomenon in London where affordable housing is concerned.”
“In the four years of the current Mayor’s tenure only 49% of the affordable housing that was allegedly incepted, has actually been completed and clearly Sadiq Khan, election looming or not, has questions to answer over where these phantom dwellings have been lost.
“Something very fishy indeed is going on, and we must be forgiven, as the taxpayers that fund the £8bn London budget, for thinking that the books may be cooked?
“In 2016, when Sadiq Khan campaigned for office and then also after he had won the election, he promised that he would deliver 35,000 affordable homes each year. This was then immortalised in his London Plan. Unfortunately, after four years of his tenure, the facts are that he has delivered only 18% of that promise.
Questions will surely be asked especially by those on lower incomes that desperately need the affordable homes that the Mayor was elected to provide.”
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