Impact of immigration on housing demand 'larger than governments admit'
British governments have repeatedly misled the public over the impact immigration has had on the number of homes needed to house the UK population, a report has claimed.
Thinktank and lobby group Migration Watch UK claims the current government figures - which state immigration will account for the formation of 77,000 new households in England per annum over the 25 years to 2039 - are a serious underestimate.
However, Migration Watch UK has said the immigration level these projections are based on are too low, as the government figure of 170,500 a year compares with the current 300,000 a year and the average over the last decade of 200,000 a year.
It stated: "The existing migrant population in England will also be driving future household formation, indeed, more so because of they have a much younger age profile than the UK born." It argued that this impact is hidden because the birth of children to this demographic is treated in the statistics as being part of a 'natural change" among the UK population.
Chairman of Migration Watch Lord Green of Deddington said: "We have a major crisis over housing affecting huge numbers of people but especially the young who are finding it ever harder to get onto the housing ladder. Yet the focus of the debate is still entirely on supply."
In reality, he claimed, the "real" issue is that of demand for property and the "uncomfortable truth" of the impact immigration has on it.
The level of demand for rental property in the UK may partly depend on future migration trends, with one possibility being that many EU citizens will leave because of Brexit while tighter controls are put in place. An alternative scenario is that immigration is made easier for people with the skills that the economy needs.
No agreement is yet in place between the UK government and the EU over the residential status of EU citizens living in Britain and British people living in EU countries, despite this being one of the stated priorities prime minister Theresa May listed when submitting the article 50 letter.