Interesting data from the Office for National Statistics in the UK shows that the UK population is forecast to expand to above 70 million by 2037.
In the decade to 2022, the UK population is forecast to increase by a troublesome 3.8 million (+7.2pc).
Given that Britain has not even been able to keep pace with housing the existing population of 64 million effectively, this appears very likely to result in a housing market crisis.
The great bulk of population growth is now being driven by international migration as much as it is natural increase.
Unsurprisingly London and the South East are seeing population growth accelerating at well above the average for England, with on average 7pc growth forecast for England over the 10 years to mid 2022.
The population is expected to growth by more than 15pc in Cambridgeshire and London over the coming decade, which can surely only result in increased pressure on those housing markets.
The fastest growing boroughs in and around London are expected to include Tower Hamlets, Barking & Dagenham, Redbridge, Islington, Kingston upon Thames and Barnet, which all join Cambridgeshire in having a population growth forecast of well above +15pc.
However, the population is expected to grow by only 3% in the north-east, and in Barrow-in-Furness the population is expected to decline further over the next decade, as it is too in Blackpool.
One of the biggest challenges for Britain is that the fastest growing demographic over the next decade will be the over 65s (+22pc).
Indeed, this demographic is expected to increase by between one quarter and one fifth across every British region in the next decade.
For those thinking ahead, as I considered here, the property type in shortest supply is likely to be what the Poms call 'bungalows', i.e. single storey dwellings.
For obvious reasons, this property type will be in high demand from the over 65s, but while bungalows were previously built extensively across East Anglia, new brownfield site developments are far more likely to be of the medium-density/multi-storey type, in order for developers to maximise profit per square metre.
"The fastest growing section of the population and as such the one which will be a major driver of the coming housing crisis, is the over 65s, the number of who is expected to increase by 50% in the next couple of decades, to 15.5 million by 2030.
There is a chronic shortage of appropriate housing stock for downsizing in old age.
"Survey after survey has shown that the preferred home for pensioners would be a bungalow - indeed it would be the home of choice for around a third of the population. However, bungalows constitute just one in 50 British houses".
It appears that developers are unwilling to build more single-storey homes due to the land space they take up which does not fit well with the developers' preferred density of 35-50 dwellings per hectare."
To me the data continues to imply that if you want capital growth, keep owning properties in London, Cambridge and parts of the south-east, and if you want value for money, look for a house elsewhere.
In particular, the regions around London are likely to descend into a deeper housing crisis for these reasons:
-growing population as noted above
-population migration towards one part of the country (south-east of England)
-population choosing to live in different property types
-diabolical planning and endless political wrangling
-widespread NIMBYism and environmental concerns about population spread into the green belt land
-expensive demolition and construction costs
-difficulties obtaining construction finance.