Global Housing Crisis: A Demand for Two Billion Homes by 2100

The World’s Population Explosion

By the end of the 21st century, the world’s population is projected to have increased by half, bringing the global population to a staggering 11.2 billion from the current 7.6 billion estimated at the end of 2017. According to the United Nations, this forecast is considered to be a “medium growth” scenario. With such a significant population growth, there will be substantial demand on resources, including housing.

Global Housing Needs in Flux

UN data shows that household sizes have been declining over the past 50 years, with average household sizes varying significantly from one country to another. For instance, France saw a decline in the average household size from 3.1 persons in 1968 to 2.3 in 2011, coinciding with a drop in the country’s fertility rate. An increasingly ageing population in developed countries also points to a demographic shift that will impact the housing market, as more people are staying in their homes for longer periods.

The Rise of Single and Two-Person Households

One of the most notable trends in the housing market is the rise in single and two-person households, particularly in developed countries like the UK. The National Records for Scotland has highlighted the impact of these changing demographics, with household demand rising faster than population growth. By 2037, Scotland’s population growth is expected to be 9 per cent, but the number of households is forecast to grow by 17 per cent, indicating higher demand for housing from the existing population.

Major Mixed-Use Development Planned at Glasgow’s Central Quay

As part of efforts to meet the increasing demand for housing, many countries are exploring innovative solutions, such as offsite, or prefabricated, construction to speed up the building process. For instance, Summix Capital is planning a significant mixed-use development at Glasgow’s Central Quay, indicating a move towards more efficient and scalable housing solutions.

Challenges in Prefabricated Construction

However, the adoption of prefabricated construction is not without its challenges. Factors such as the need for extensive preparation for substructures and foundations, delays in the installation of utilities, and a lack of well-trained construction site managers capable of managing complex logistics can slow down the rate of prefab house construction.

The Global Housing Crisis

With more than 65 million people displaced by man-made and natural disasters worldwide, the demand for housing has become even more pressing. This situation, coupled with the anticipated increase in global population, suggests that there will be a need for more than two billion new homes by the end of the 21st century.

Material Availability and Sustainable Design

The construction of two billion new homes will undoubtedly put significant pressure on material resources. This highlights the need for governments to approach construction in a sustainable manner, maximising future reuse, reducing carbon emissions and managing resources efficiently.

Policy Interventions for Sustainable Housing

Over the next 30 years, countries that implement policies to support and increase new housing provision are more likely to avoid problems related to materials sourcing and price inflation. For many countries, the issue of housing supply has already become a hot topic for national debate and policy strategy.

Addressing the World’s Ticking Household Bomb

As urban issues website CityLab has termed it, the world is facing a “ticking household bomb.” For the rest of the world, the housing crisis is set to become the most pressing issue facing governments this century. The time to act and address the world’s housing problem is now.

Building the Future: A World with Homes for All

The housing crisis presents a sizeable challenge, but it is not insurmountable. With innovative construction methods, sustainable design and forward-thinking policy strategies, we can meet the demand for housing and build a future where everyone has a place they can call home.