Local authorities in the south east have slashed their new housing targets by more than 13 per cent – a reduction of 7,000 homes compared to the original regional blueprint.
The cuts are the most severe anywhere in England, according to new research by industry experts.
And almost one in ten local authorities in the region never set a target in the first place.
The findings of the fourth annual Housing the Nation report, put together by a group of property experts, looks at the challenge of delivering housing and puts forward recommendations to the government on how to improve the situation.
Tim Cann of BNP Paribas Real Estate, which led the way on the research,said: “Following the abolition of government set targets in line with the Localism Bill, local authorities are now able to set their own regional targets.
“However, these targets have been consistently missed and the country’s housing gap remains a major issue.”
The 2013 survey shows that, relative to the RSS targets, just under a quarter of authorities have maintained the same figure for housing delivery.
BNP Paribas head of research Claire Higgins added: “A more positive outcome than our previous surveys showed that those authorities that made changes this year, either up or down, on average increased targets by six per cent.
“Of those cutting targets, the average reduction was by 26 per cent, but this was outweighed by those who increased their target by an average of 33 per cent.”
“Nonetheless, across England we estimate an overall loss of over 12,000 houses per annum.”
And head of residential consulting Adrian Owen said: “With more than 233,000 households currently waiting for social housing in the South East, the fourth Housing the Nation report revealed that the government is again on track to miss its targets, by a worryingly large number.
“A shortfall of 51,000 new homes has to be the tip of the iceberg – this is like losing a town of a similar size to Eastleigh, Hampshire. As local authorities persevere with setting their own targets, they continue to downgrade levels of completions, which is a major issue as the UK lacks the new housing it requires”.