The government’s determination to build 300,000 homes a year may well have been overtaken by events, Joey Gardiner writes
Little noticed amid the covid-19 pandemic and associated economic crisis has been a pretty astounding piece of research which – if it proves to be true – could have a significant impact on the housing market. And which could, potentially, raise serious questions about the government’s already contentious 300,000-homes-a-year housebuilding target.
In January, King’s College London academic Jonathan Portes and Michael O’Connor, of think-tank Stronger in Numbers, published an analysis of official government data which suggested that the UK population has fallen by as much as 1.3 million in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. The suspicion is that the shift is largely due to migrant workers and foreign students returning home.
If their analysis is correct, it also implies that most of the population reduction – nearly 700,000 people – has occurred in London, which would appear to fit with the distribution of overseas-born workers and students.
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