Marrons - At least 101,100 new homes needed in Leics by 2040

Published 07th May 2024 by Shakespeare Martineau

Leicestershire needs to build at least 101,100 new homes in less than two decades to meet the needs of the county’s 2040 population, research by socio-economic experts at Marrons has revealed.

With 124,856 more people aged 16 and over expected to be living in Leicestershire by 2040 – including 75,246 people aged 66 and over, 17,173 first-time buyers (25-44-year-olds), and 14,011 of student age (18-22) – the analysis highlights the pressing need to accommodate the county’s demographic growth.

The research also identifies high levels of under-occupancy, with more than 65,111 people aged 66 and over residing in homes larger than necessary (two or more bedrooms unoccupied) in 2021. If this trend continues, more than 100,000 65+ households are expected to be under-occupied in 2040.

Home to three universities, Leicestershire’s student-age population is projected to grow by 17% to more than 80,600 people in 2040. Furthermore, its social housing stock is estimated to plummet by an additional 12,834 properties in 2040, despite 10,690 people being on their local authority’s housing register in 2023.

Jacqueline Jackson, planning director at Marrons in Leicester, said: “The findings shed light on the significant housing challenges we face in Leicestershire, and the need to build at least 101,158 new homes by 2040 is a stark reminder of the pressure nature of our housing crisis.

“It is essential we take immediate and decisive action to ensure Leicestershire can accommodate its growing population and provide homes that meet the diverse needs for our future residents. The demographic projections highlight the complexities of the county’s housing needs and it is clear we must adopt a multi-faceted approach to housing development.

“Building a range of homes to suit many different needs is not only a priority but a necessity. It creates more choice, aids first-time buyers onto the property ladder, gives expanding families additional space, helps the ageing population downsize and live in homes more suitable for their needs, and adds to the supply of affordable housing.

“By taking proactive steps now, we can ensure Leicestershire remains a vibrant and inclusive place to live for generations to come. Together, we can build a brighter future for our county, where everyone has access to safe, affordable and suitable housing.”

In contrast to the remaining local authorities within the East Midlands, Leicester city will need to deliver the greatest number of homes by 2040 (44,257), will have the largest increase in its student-age population (23%), and is poised to experience the most significant decline in its social housing stock (7,794).

Nottingham city is forecast to see the largest uptick in its first-time buyer demographic (3%). North Northamptonshire is anticipated to witness the most substantial increase in those aged 66 and over, with a projected rise of 50% by 2040, as well as the highest number of under-occupied properties among 65+ households (37,593).

Utilising the latest Office for National Statistics Census data (2021) and 2018-based population projections, Marrons has painted a clear picture of England’s housing need in 2040. Supplementing this is data from local authority housing registers, affordable housing stock records and extrapolated housing requirement figures using the government’s standard method.

Dan Usher, economics director at Marrons, who specialises in housing need evidence, said: “England is poised for significant demographic change over the next two decades, bringing forth new challenges and opportunities in the housing sector.

“In examining the data, it becomes evident there is a significant need for general market homes to accommodate the growing population. As well as meeting this basic need, more could be done to provide greater choice and acknowledge the positive impact of specialist and affordable homes as part of a functioning housing market, much of which can be facilitated through market-led development at scale.

"Already, England has been named as the most difficult place to find a home in the developed world, and our ageing population and rising property prices will only exacerbate the problem. If we are going to meet the requirements of the population in 2040

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