How to fix the UK’s housing crisis? With 1.4bn bricks.

How to fix the UK’s housing crisis? With 1.4bn bricks.

The shortage in brick supply has been a significant contributing factor for the rise in house prices across the UK over the last decade. With demand continuing to outstrip supply, a recently published report gives insight into the full extent this shortage has on Britain’s housing market.

The country’s construction sector would require a total of 1.4 billion bricks to resolve its housing crisis, the Bricks Report from National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) in collaboration with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) revealed.

In the ten year since 2006, Britain’s population has been growing exponentially and the country’s housing didn’t manage to keep up with its population growth. Considering that this year, the average home in the UK is made up of 5,180 bricks, fixing the housing shortage of 264,000 homes would require a total of 1.4 billion bricks.

Undoubtedly, house prices are influenced by more than only the lack of bricks, the driving factor however is and will remain supply.

To put this into context, the current deficit in bricks could also build the following:


  • 740 Big Bens
  • 40 Tower Bridges
  • 3,090 Manchester Town Halls
  • 4,540 Warwick Castles
  • 5,830 Conwy Castles


The Brexit result has brought some more uncertainty into the market as 85% of all imported clay and cement (the primary components when making brick) cam from the EU in 2015. Depending on any outcome from trade negotiations the UK might have to look somewhere else for their main ingredients to build bricks to begin with.

Mark Hayward, Managing Director, National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) comments:

We all know that the massive lack of supply in housing is an issue that needs resolving urgently. As well as freeing up more land to ensure we can build the right sort of houses in the right places, it’s crucial we have the right materials and skills to do so. It seems a simple consideration but the fact that we don’t have enough bricks to meet demand has a very real effect and holds up the process from beginning to end. We’re concerned that the impact of the EU Referendum means this problem could get worse as we rely on the import of brick components from the EU and of course many of our skilled labourers come from there too.”

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