December 7, 2023

UK: Where do we need more new homes? The areas where population growth is outpacing new-build delivery

The latest research by the new-build sales optimisation platform, Unlatch, has revealed where across the nation we’re most in need of new homes based on the size of the housing market in relation to a growing population. 

Unlatch analysed the number of dwellings in relation to population size and how this has changed over the last 10 years across each area of England and Wales, to reveal which areas of the housing market are most in need of new-build developments. 

The latest figures show that across England, dwellings stock sits at some 24.7m versus a population just shy of 56.6m. A dwellings per capital ratio of 0.436. While the delivery of new homes has long been an issue, the data shows that this ratio has marginally increased in the last 10 years from 0.434 dwellings per capita. 

In fact, every region of England and Wales has enjoyed an increase, albeit marginal in some cases, except one – London. 

Despite the capital remaining an area of focus for housing delivery, London’s growing population has seen the number of dwellings per capital reduce from 0.414 a decade ago, to 0.404 today. 

Hardly surprising then, that London also accounts for 12 of the 20 biggest declines in housing stock per capita at local authority level. 

The City of London ranks top with the largest decline in the ratio of homes per capita in the last decade (-0.095), while Camden, the City of Westminster and Islington follow closely behind. 

Tower Hamlets, Barking and Dagenham, Kingston, Havering, Redbridge, Hackney, Hillingdon and Bexley also rank within the top 20 areas to see a growing population squeeze the level of housing availability. 

Outside of London, Coventry has seen the biggest strain placed on the local housing market. The number of dwellings per capita has declined from 0.424 a year ago to 0.380 today – a drop of -0.043. 

Welwyn Hatfield, Guildford, Brighton and Hove, Nottingham, Runnymede, Thurrock and Manchester also rank amongst the areas to have seen the largest decline in dwellings stock per capita. 

Lee Martin, Head of UK for Unlatch says:

“The delivery of new homes is always a hot topic and it’s fair to say that we’re in desperate need of more housing the length and breadth of the nation. However, some areas are certainly in greater need than others and this is largely down to the fact that local populations are growing at a faster rate than we can actually build homes.

London is arguably the most in need in this respect and it’s the only region that has seen the number of dwellings per capita actually decline when compared to a decade ago. Of course, the biggest challenge for housebuilders is to not only deliver enough homes but to do so at an affordable price threshold for the average homebuyer.”

Data on dwellings stock levels sourced from – Live tables on dwellings stock and – Dwellings stock estimates.

Population data sourced from the Office for National Statistics – Population estimates and Estimates of the population for the UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Dwellings per capital based on the volume of dwellings stock divided by population in each area.
Coverage Briefing
Coverage Briefing


  • Unlatch was launched in Paris in 2018 and founded by Thomas Rivoire, Francois Marill and Olivier Adam
  • Raised 6m Euro in funding including from a consortium of French Notaries and AXA Venture Partners
  • Expanded internationally in Belgium in November 2019, Spain and Portugal in May 2021 and the UK in October 2021
  • Lee Martin, Head of UK, has 20 years new homes experience and founded Preston Bennett which became part of Hamptons International when Lee sold the business to them in 2017
  • Track and access sales progression milestones and comms 24/7
  • Automate and populate all legal sales documents
  • Create reservations and take payments digitally
  • CRM and analytics features
  • Reduce offer to exchange time by 29 days (French data)

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