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Over 12,000 social homes lost last year, as over one million households remain trapped on council waiting lists

New government figures released today (8th February) have revealed a net loss of 12,000 social homes in England last year, as sales and demolitions continue to surpass the number of homes built.

The figures also show:

  • 22,023 social homes were either sold or demolished last year in England, yet just 9,561 social homes were built – a net loss of 12,462 homes.
  • In the past ten years, there has been a total loss of 177,487 social homes.
  • 1.28 million households in England are currently stuck on council waiting lists for a social home. 

This follows news that the government plans to further restrict access to social housing for some through their ‘British homes for British workers’ scheme, rather than acknowledging the chronic lack of social homes. Currently, 90% of social homes are let to British citizens.

The statistics come as the government also publishes its latest data on ‘no fault’ evictions, which show an 26% increase in Section 21 evictions across England and Wales in 2023 compared with the previous year – as the chronic shortage of social homes forces more low-income households into the insecure and unaffordable private rented sector.

Responding to the figures Matt Downie, Crisis Chief Executive, said: “It’s disgraceful to see the number of social homes continue to be decimated. This is robbing over a million households stuck on council waiting lists of the opportunity of a safe home.

“This scarcity of social homes means that many councils are running out of options – with some even having to consider closing waiting lists due to demand. With nowhere else to go, tens of thousands of households are being forced into poor quality temporary accommodation like hostels and B&Bs or finding themselves at the mercy of the unaffordable private renting sector, where they can be evicted at a moment’s notice.

“The system is at breaking point. We need to see a major programme of social housebuilding – reaching at least 90,000 homes per year - if we are to tackle homelessness for good. Only through this decisive action will we be able to give people the safety and security of a real home.”


Notes to Editor


  • 25,749 social homes were either sold or demolished in 2022/23, including 18,799 sales and 3,224 demolitions. Low-cost homeownership is excluded from the total sales figure and it is assumed that social housing sales and demolitions were previously let at social rent. DLUHC, Live tables on social housing sales, Table 678 and 684 detail sales and demolitions of social housing.
  • In 2022/23, a total of 9,561 new social rented homes were completed. Data available at table 10006c.
  • To calculate the estimated net loss of social housing, comparison is made between the number of social homes completed with the number of homes lost through sales and demolitions.
  • Between 2012/13 and 2022/23 a total of 93,875 social rented homes were delivered but 212,590 social homes were lost through sales and a further 58,772 were lost through demolition. This means overall there has been a net loss of 177,487 social rented homes over the past 10 years.
  • The number of accelerated landlord repossession claims (section 21’s) for 2023 increased by 26% to 31,545 from 25,068 in 2022. When comparing the same quarters (Q4) the increase was 16% to 6,599 from 7,635. Data available at Mortgage and Landlord Possession statistics: October to December 2023.