Why don\’t journalists bother to look up statistics?

Try this from Clive Aslet:

Well, no. If there were a demand for new housing, builders would be putting up properties left, right and centre on their massive land banks. As it is, the rate of building has slowed to little above zero.

Umm, there\’s \”litte above zero\” and there\’s \”little above zero\” Mr. Aslet.

Here are the actual figures.

We\’re building around and about 100,000 houses a year, 25,000 a quarter. Adding to the housing stock at the rate of (ish, ish) 0.4% a year (assuming 25 million households) and 0.1% a quarter.

Private housebuilding seems to be holding up better than social landlords as well.

Seasonally adjusted housing starts in England fell from 25,680 in the March quarter 2011 to 23,400 in the June quarter 2011. This is a nine per cent quarter on quarter fall. Starts are still 51 per cent below their December quarter 2005 peak, but 62 per cent above the trough in the March quarter of 2009.

So even when the economy was boom all the time, all the time boom, we were only adding 0.2% per quarter to the housing stock. We\’re at half that now.

This may or may not be the \”correct\” figure. Perhaps we should be building more, perhaps we shouldn\’t. But it just ain\’t \”little above zero\”.

So, umm, why is it that journos don\’t look up statistics then?

3 thoughts on “Why don\’t journalists bother to look up statistics?”

  1. back in the 1950s, when the Conservatives got back into power, Harold MacMillan set his department a target of building 100,000 new council houses in a year. This was thought to be incredible and unachievable at the time. I am glad that this level of supply is now so normal that it seems like zero to commentators.

  2. I think the rate of completions of council houses were much higher than that and never fell below 100,000 ’til the mid-1960s, add in private housing and you have a much bigger stock.

    I think it’s pretty obvious the country could benefit from more housing, but the key is in land prices, I’d think.

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