Nearly one in three houses that have been given the go ahead never get built, according to homelessness campaigners.
Shelter says the problem of 'phantom homes' is even more acute in London where half of new houses are not built despite developers being given planning permission.
Over the same period profits for the top five housebuilders have soared nearly fourfold to £3.3bn last year and payouts to shareholders rose to nearly £1bn. ?
Shelter warns that the current housebuilding system encourages developers to sit on land to keep prices high while blaming red tape for the delays.
It is calling on the Government to give councils the power to tax developers who aren’t building fast enough and give planning permission based on a company's track record.
Anne Baxendale of Shelter said: 'Housebuilders are trickling out a handful of poor quality homes at a snail’s pace meaning there are simply not enough affordable homes and ordinary working families are bearing the brunt.??'While people across the country struggle with eye-wateringly high housing costs, developers' profits are soaring into the billions.
'Time and again we hear the "red tape" of the planning system being blamed but the real problem is a system where developers make more profit sitting on land than they would by building homes.'