The residential property world’s big-hitters today served the government with demands to meet housing targets.

Key speakers at Property Week’s ‘Resi 07’ blamed the scant supply of land to build on and laborious planning procedures as the root of the sectors problems.

Roger Bootle, manager of economic research consultancy Capital Economics, said the property industry had been failed by the government.

‘Most people look at the housing market and see it as a story of great success,’ he said. ‘I see it as one of our most unbridled failures.

‘There are massive costs in our economy and massive costs for individual people.

‘In my view the fault does not lie with the financial sector or with the house-building sector – it lies with the government. It is with the fundamental question of the availability of housing supply.’

Bootle pointed to the disparity between the large amount of uncontrolled immigration with the government’s failure to free up land for house building.

Mark Clare, group chief executive of Barrett Homes, agreed that more land was needed but also argued that our planning system was putting a stranglehold on the industry.

‘We need more homes, with more affordability and higher environmental standards,’

he told the 800 property delegates. ‘It is an agenda we cannot do alone.

‘There’s no doubt the planning process is frustrating and it is difficult to argue that it’s fit for purpose.

‘Here I think the government has done less to grasp the nettle and if they have grasped the nettle they’ve grasped the wrong end.

Clare also said the public sector needed to recognise the industry needed to be making their returns otherwise there would be no house building at all.