Page 2: Where will the new homes go?
On a national scale, the growth of household numbers is translating to an increase in the need for new homes. In this country, it is estimated that one person households will grow from 5.1 million in 1996, to 8.6 million in 2016 and the average size of households will fall from 2.47 people in 1996, to 2.17 people in 2016.
In general, housing development follows the demand for housing which is, itself, largely influenced by population flows. In simple terms, if lots of people are moving towards particular growth poles, then they will need new housing of the right type (largely dependent on income and status). The general pattern of household distribution has, for some time, shown a drift from north to south and from urban to rural areas. Household projections today show a general population loss from the large cities to smaller towns, the countryside, traditional resorts and retirement centres. However, the large influx of immigrants to some key metropolitan urban areas (particularly London) counteracts some of the migration to other parts of the country. Traditional growth counties such as Kent, Hampshire, West Midlands, Staffordshire and Cheshire will continue to accommodate a significant percentage of the country’s households. ‘New’ growth counties can be identified - including North Yorkshire and Northamptonshire.
Land is not a ‘free Good’
In the language of economic theory, land is not a ‘free good’ it is an ‘economic good’ i.e. it is scarce relative to our demand for it. People want new homes in specific localities such as green suburban areas, from which they can commute to work easily. Unfortunately, there is limited availability of such areas and they have already been well developed (even though we live in an increasingly environmentally conscious society in which citizens rightly demand the protection of ‘green belt’ land). Bryant, therefore, has to plan its response carefully when providing new homes for people.
The challenge is to create new homes which meet customer requirements in appropriate parts of the country, while at the same time respecting and protecting national environmental resources.