By Daniel Hunter

After Government figures revealed housing starts declined 11% in 2012, the British Property Federation has stated the country needs to end its obsession with owner occupation and consider a range of housing options, including build to let.

While the picture for housing completions was a little rosier with a 1% increase compared to 2011, the UK is still only building half of the homes estimated to meet demand, despite a raft of Government initiatives aimed at kick starting house building.

The BPF has been calling for the expansion of an institutionally funded private rented sector, which could bring badly needed new funding to develop quality homes for longer-term rent, and meet some of the shortfall in housing building.

“Against the backdrop of these figures we need to seriously think about how we’re going to build the homes this country needs to meet growing demand," Ian Fletcher, director of policy at the British Property Federation, said.

“As things stand the owner occupied model just isn’t delivering the required numbers, and we need to focus on a range of options.

“To improve overall housing supply it needs to be affordable, does not require access to mortgage finance and not put undue strain on tight public finances. An institutional-funded professional rented sector, building to let, ticks all these boxes.”

The British Property Federation next week hosts its annual Residential Conference where Housing Minister Mark Prisk and Shadow Housing Minister Jack Dromney will debate the future of the housing market, including how to encourage more build to let homes.

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