MORE land needs to be released in south east England, including parts of the green belt, if Britain is to get near to solving the housing crisis, according to Savills.

In a new report ‘On track to solving the housing crisis?’ Savills has said that the government should introduce ‘green belt swaps’ that would allow for the release of more land in areas where the housing shortfall is at its greatest.

Green belt swaps allow councils to remove protections on one part of the green belt that is near existing housing settlements and infrastructure in return for creating an area of protected land elsewhere.

“Policymakers must take this shortfall in the south east of England seriously if we are to finish the job of solving the housing crisis,” says Colin Wilkins, head of Savills south coast development team. “Many more new homes are needed at price points that are affordable to the many, and across a range of tenures, if affordability pressures are to be eased.”

The report from Savills says that by significantly increasing the release of land available for development in areas of high housing demand, competition for developing sites would reduce, leading to lower land values and enabling new homes to be sold at lower prices.

Rapid expansion of the housebuilding industry puts the UK on track to deliver the Government’s target of one million new homes by 2020, but an additional 100,000 homes are needed each year if the new supply is to have any effect on housing affordability.