We have for more than three decades operated on the basis of developers land-banking, ie buying up sites without planning consent at inflated values and fighting extended planning battles whilst betting on ever-rising prices bailing them out. They usually get away with it. Sadly, as the latest decade of unsustainable increases in house prices from 1997 to 2007 saw a bigger boom than ever before, with prices and rents trebling on average and soaring even more than that in hot-spots, the bust, when it inevitably came, was even bigger.
It is estimated that planning consent exists for 400,000 new homes. The reason many of these developments sit un-started on developers' Books, is that they paid far too much for the sites and cannot economically develop them. This holds up not just the development of market homes, but also of the affordable homes which rely on cross subsidy from the market elements of schemes to make the whole thing viable. Without change, we are destined to repeat this mistake.