Anyone arriving in the UK in the last year, particularly in the run up to the General Election would have become aware that we apparently have a national 'housing shortage', often depicted in the wider media as representing a 'crisis'.
The Barker Review of Housing Supply in 2004 stated that 250,000 homes a year needed to be built to prevent ongoing rises in the cost of house purchase due to continued 'structural under-supply'. However the average number of new homes actually built in the last few years has only been around 140,000 per year, clearly a long way short of the 240,000 target that the (then) Labour government set as an annual target in 2007.
The impact of the Great Recession from 2008 had a significant impact on the house building industry as many small firms went bust and capacity to build was lost due to many older skilled workers finding alternative careers or retiring.
As the UK economic recovery has gained traction in recent years, with an increasing appetite to lend and borrow returning, from banks and from aspiring property owners respectively, the house-building industry has responded, in part aided by government schemes such as 'Help to Buy' which has helped more people to purchase property and many for the first time.
And yet the 'housing crisis' continues to hog media headlines with politicians always keen to be seen to be 'doing something' the main response has been to free up the planning system for brownfield sites, while also allowing developers to convert redundant office building into residential apartments.