Agents should use their market position to advise town halls about local housing needs, a senior MP has suggested.
Labour and Co-op MP Dame Meg Hiller, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, suggested agents are well placed to ensure councils help supply the right types of homes.
It comes as a report by the committee, published this week, warned that the Government is likely to come up 32,000 short of the aims of its 2016 and 2021 affordable housing building programmes.
The report, which comes as the Government dropped plans for mandatory local housebuilding targets, warns that not enough homes are built for social rent and said more must be done to ensure appropriate homes are built in areas where there is most demand.
While not in the scope of the inquiry, Hillier suggested estate agents could be useful in identifying the types of homes needed.
Speaking exclusively to Estate Agent Today, she said: “Estate agents know their market well and will know who is looking to buy.
“They will have noticed the changing trends in the market with more families renting for the long-term.
“Agents could report demand to councils so they can see what properties people want.
“Estate agents have a lot of sector knowledge, why not try and get a dialogue going with the local council.
“No responsible estate agent would take view of keeping supply down, they should want to see people in homes and have a thriving housing sector.”
Hillier added that the Government needs to be consistent about how it reports housebuilding data and said it is important to have enough affordable housing to buy and rent as it is better value than paying housing benefit to tenants struggling in the private rental sector.