Towns and cities in southern England will have to squeeze in hundreds of thousands of extra homes for new migrants, according to official figures.
The Government has been forced to revise the figures upwards after reviewing its predictions for where immigrants will settle.
It says that fewer will live and work in London than previously thought, with more choosing to go to suburban and countryside areas in the southern half of the country.
Homes will have to be found for an extra 30,000 families a year in the East of England, according to the updated figures from the Department of Communities and Local Government.
Nearly 36,000 more will need a home in the South-East, nearly 29,000 extra in the South-West, and 22,000 in the East Midlands.
But independent analysts said yesterday that the numbers for immigrants overall are still far too low and take no account of the arrival of hundreds of thousands of Eastern Europeans over the past four years.
The figures could not come at a worse time for ministers, who have already acknowledged they will miss their targets for building millions of homes across the country.
The looming recession has further trimmed back State spending on housing and forced builders to halt construction plans.
Queues for taxpayer- subsidised social housing are already lengthening. Last week local government chiefs said that five million - one in ten of England's population - will be on waiting lists for council or housing association homes by 2010.
According to the department's calculations, the number of additional families and individuals who will need homes in the South-East over the next 20 years is more than four million - 4,257,000.
The East of England will take more than three million, the South-West just under three million, and the East Midlands around 2.3million.
In other parts of the country the population will grow much more slowly, the figures say. And the need for new homes in London can be scaled down from just under 39,000 a year to just over 33,000.
The extra pressure in southern areas is likely to come from high numbers of immigrants taking jobs in agriculture and agricultural industries.
There are also growing numbers of successful immigrant families moving out of London as part of the middleclass "white flight" movement.
The estimates are based on population figures for 2004 - before most Eastern European immigrants arrived here after their countries joined the EU.
A spokesman for the Communities Department said: "The revised population projections used an improved method for estimating the distribution of migrants around the country.
"This has tended to reduce the population growth in London and increased the projected rate in other regions."
Sir Andrew Green of the Migrationwatch think tank said: "This underlines the massive impact immigration is having throughout the country.
"The effect of immigration on housing demand is an aspect which the Government does its best to play down."
Ministers say that a third of new households over the next two decades will be formed by new immigrants. But this is based on figures drawn up four years ago.
Revised estimates expected in the autumn are likely to say that 40 per cent of new households will be formed by migrants.