With the UK housing crisis still out of control, international real estate adviser has suggested a flexible approach to policy and funding to make homes affordable for all.

Grant funding should be targeted, and social rented housing considered investment, to deliver long-term savings for the public purse, Savills said in a new report - Investing to solve the housing crisis.

As many as 96,400 new households each year cannot afford to buy or rent a home in the open market and so need housing support. A whopping 300,000 new homes are needed annually across England to meet housing demand, of which a third at below market rent or sale prices (‘sub-market’).

To house all those in need of ‘sub-market’ housing in social rented homes would require £7 billion in grant funding every year. This would cut the housing benefit bill by £430 million annually and give a hypothetical saving of £23.9 billion based on current 30-year gilt rates at 1.8 per cent.

The number of new households excluded from market housing continues to rise sharply in London and the South, which together account for almost 80 per cent of additional need each year. Also, the incomes of these excluded households, and therefore the type of sub-market housing they can afford, vary enormously across the country. In London, a fifth have income over £35,000 and a further fifth under £10,000.