Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, last week announced that the government would finally utilise Britain’s brownfield to help address the housing crisis, investing £1.8bn to deliver 160,000 new homes on 15 hectares of currently dormant land.

However, the latest research from the real estate debt advisory specialists, Sirius Property Finance, has revealed just how insignificant this investment is based on the actual level of brownfield land available.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government estimates that there is some 36,700 hectares of brownfield land across England alone, over 51 million square metres.

Talk Property – MPU

With the average home requiring a plot of 275 square metres, that’s enough to deliver more than 1.3m new homes, more than eight times the volume promised by the government.

The South East is home to the largest brownfield housebuilder potential, with enough brownfield space to deliver 2010,052 new homes, followed by the East of England (186,100) and the North West and West Midlands (179,071).

At 2,095 hectares, the North East is home to the lowest level of brownfield land although it would still be enough to deliver some 78,181 new homes.

The market value of these new homes was also looked at based on current new-build house prices in each region.

Across England as a whole, the 1.3 million potential homes that could be built on brownfield land would total a staggering £487 billion worth of property.

With robust new-build values as well as an abundance of brownfield, the South East and East of England again rank top, with the current market value of potential brownfield homes sitting at £92.5 billion and £78.5 billion respectively.

While London sits mid-table in respect of the potential number of brownfield homes that could be built (129,816), the high price of property in the capital means it ranks third in terms of the potential total value.

Based on current new-build market values, London’s brownfield could potentially deliver £69.3 billion worth of new homes to the market.

Managing Director of Sirius Property Finance, Nicholas Christofi, commented:

“There have long been calls to utilise brownfield land in order to address the current housing crisis and so many will have warmly welcomed the government’s decision to finally do so.

However, it’s fair to say that the development of 1,500 hectares is really just the tip of the iceberg when viewed against the wider context of just how much brownfield land there is.

Redeveloping brownfield land requires additional time, resources and budget and so it might not be the primary focus for many housebuilders.

But it does present a wealth of potential and not only could it help significantly boost housing stock levels, but the value of this stock in current market conditions would be substantial.”

Table shows the level of brownfield land in each area, the potential number of new homes that could be built and the current market value of these new homes
Region Est Brownfield area (hectares) Est Brownfield area (Sq m) Approx size of property plot (Sq m) Potential brownfield new homes built Average new-build house price Potential brownfield new homes vaue
South East 5,777 57,773,613 275 210,052 £440,152 £92,454,769,405
East of England 5,119 51,185,785 275 186,100 £422,076 £78,548,242,753
North West 4,925 49,252,563 275 179,071 £280,026 £50,144,543,273
West Midlands 4,925 49,252,563 275 179,071 £279,281 £50,011,130,731
Yorkshire and the Humber 4,159 41,594,027 275 151,226 £257,168 £38,890,681,519
London 3,571 35,705,134 275 129,816 £533,642 £69,275,155,604
East Midlands 3,133 31,333,077 275 113,920 £317,719 £36,194,531,460
South West 2,995 29,950,079 275 108,892 £363,869 £39,622,344,364
North East 2,095 20,953,159 275 76,181 £227,928 £17,363,780,750
England 36,700 367,000,000 275 1,334,329 £364,672 £486,592,714,504
Sources MHCLG MHCLG Brownfield (Sq m) / Average Property Size Gov.uk – UK House Price Index Number of potential brownfield homes * average new-build house price
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