The Government is aiming to build a million new homes by the end of this Parliament, the housing minister said, as new figures show a shortfall in the number of properties needed in England.
Less than 460,000 homes were constructed between 2011 and 2014, according to figures from the National Housing Federation reported by the BBC, despite forecasts that 974,000 houses were needed.
The shortfall shows that more new homes are urgently needed, the director of policy and external affairs for the federation Gill Payne said.
"We haven't built enough homes in this country for decades, and if the gap between the number of households forming and the number of new homes being built continues to grow, we are in danger of not being able to house our children," she said.
Housing minister Brandon Lewis projected a target of a million new homes in the next five years.
He told BBC Inside Out: "By the end of this Parliament, success I think would mean that we have seen a build in total of something like a million homes."
Figures released last month showed the number of new homes being started by builders in England fell at its steepest rate for three years in the latest quarter.
A 14% decline in housing starts to 33,280 in the April-June period was the sharpest since the January-March period of 2012, according to the Government's own seasonally-adjusted data. Starts were 6% lower year-on-year.
It meant the pace of new house building was 32% below its peak level in 2007, though 94% above a trough at the height of the financial crisis in 2009.