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Buy to let is expected to keep growing for the next few years as Britain faces a severe shortage of homes.
As house building falters but the population keeps growing, the country is expected to have a shortfall of around a million homes by 2020, says builder Barratt Developments.
Chief executive Mark Clare argues that even before the credit crunch, too few homes were built each year and even if the economy springs back to growth, builders will not get back to churning out 200,000 new homes a year before then end of the decade.
“There is a large amount of pent-up demand. We are building, as an industry, 120,000 homes a year, but the requirement is for well over 200,000.” he said.
“There is a supply and demand gap opening up quite quickly. We are well short of the number of homes required.”
Clare was speaking as the firm posted an 8% revenue increase to £950 million for the six months to December 31, and forecast profits should be 40% up to £61 million.
A new report revealed the average home is now taking around 241 days to sell – the longest time since records began in 2004, says website home.co.uk, which monitors property prices and data online.
Meanwhile, house prices climbed 0.2% to £220,385 in December, but fell 0.5% for the year, according to the latest house price index from LSL Property Services/Acadametrics.
London prices were 3.1% higher than the year before – with Wales as the only other region to show annual house price growth at just 0.7%.
During 2011, house prices peaked at £224,381 in March, after starting the year at £222,176, but have fallen each month since, says the index.
“Generally, the changes have been marginal and in essence we have experienced a period of relative stability in house prices, which is perhaps surprising given the turmoil observed in the financial markets over the same period,” said a spokesman.
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