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Wanted: 1.4bn bricks to fix housing crisis

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Wanted: 1.4bn bricks to fix housing crisis

A shortage of brick supply has been cited as a contributing factor in rising house prices over the past decade, as growing demand continues to outstrip availability of housing, according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

In its ‘Bricks Report’, compiled with the Centre for Economics and Business Research, it claims that the UK’s construction sector would require a total of 1.4 billion bricks in order to resolve the housing shortage in the UK.

This is the equivalent of the total amount which would be needed to build all the houses in Leicestershire.

Growing demand

Between 2006 and 2016, the growing UK population triggered exponential growth in demand, and has now outgrown the number of houses being built. Given that in 2016 the average UK home is made up of 5,180 bricks, resolving the housing shortage of 264,000 units would require 1.4bn bricks.

Mark Hayward, managing director of the NAEA, said: “We all know that the massive lack of supply in housing is an issue that needs resolving urgently. As well as freeing up more land to ensure we can build the right sort of houses in the right places, it’s crucial we have the right materials and skills to do so. It seems a simple consideration but the fact that we don’t have enough bricks to meet demand has a very real effect and holds up the process from beginning to end.”

No brick shortage

The UK’s Brick Development Association has hit back, claiming the reported brick shortage was out of date. Andrew Eagles, CEO of the BDA, said: “We can report with absolute authority that there is no shortage.

“There has been a significant increase in brick production over the last 15 months and this is confirmed by the ONS statistics. The Construction Products Association, Builders Merchants Federation and major house builders also confirm that they have not seen any issues with brick supply in the last year.

“The report for the NAEA citing a brick shortage is based on data from April 2015. This is 15 months out of date. It is misleading and damaging for the brick and construction industry.”

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