Demand for housing still exceeds supply in the province despite advances mad a housing expert had claimed.
Commenting on the latest Northern Ireland Housing Bulletin Nicola McCrudden, Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) director for Northern Ireland, said: “We are continuing to see growth in the number of new homes - particularly in the private sector where there has been a 12 per cent yearly increase on new home starts. Housing associations are also performing well with the number of completed new homes up 31 per cent (282) on the same quarter last year. In total there were 1346 properties started during October to December 2015 an increase of 12 per cent for the same period in 2014.
“The steady increase in the number of new homes is very encouraging but we desperately need to step up activity. Demand for housing in Northern Ireland far outstrips supply. We need more than 11,200 new homes every year, but are building on average around half that amount.”
With 22,000 households on the waiting list in housing stress, the gap between housing demand and supply continues to widen unacceptably she added.
“Homelessness levels remain unacceptably high. During October-December 2015, 4646 households contacted the Housing Executive for homelessness assistance.
“Housing supply is critical to economic recovery and the health our citizens.
“We need a step change in delivery of housing policy and recognition that education, health and job opportunities are underpinned by good quality, affordable housing. The new Stormont Executive must prioritise housing and homelessness in the next programme for government.”