Monday, October 20, 2014

Nothing doing

In the next plan period, we need zero new houses in Hart.  Here's why.

Declining fertility rate

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the number of children each woman has is declining rapidly.  The current rate is 1.85; the minimum number needed to stop the population from dropping is 2.1.  This means that in the course of a generation (all other things being equal) we might expect the a population of 100,000 to decline by several thousand.  In case the link on this page disappears with the ONS updating their web site, here's the key graphic:

This declining fertility rate will lead to lower demand for houses.

Baby Boomers

Baby boomers are loosely defined as those born in the 1946 - 1964 period: a period where in the Western World, the fertility rate leapt as couples started families after the Second World War.  Over the next 20 years, most of these will
  • downsize (frequently moving to houses away from the London commuter belt)
  • move into care homes (note: care homes are not counted when calculating the houses in the Local Plan)
  • pass away
In any event, the result will be that an unprecedented number of homes will become available.  The aging of the baby boomers will lead to increased supply of houses.


The divorce rate, which grew in the 1970s and 1980s, roughly levelled off in the 1990s and has been on a downward trend since about 2004.  Consequently, the expectation that divorce is leading to one household becoming two is less valid.  There were 165,000 divorces in 1995 (the peak) and just 118,000 in 2012.

Simply put ...

Based on Hart's own requirements, we do not need any extra houses in the forthcoming plan period.  Indeed, houses will become freed up over the next 10-20 years as fewer children are born, people stay together in marriages and the baby boomers downsize, move to care homes and pass away.  These houses will be available for immigration, whether from other countries or other counties.

So why are the government and Hart making us build thousands more?

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