Record Amount of New Homes Given Planning Permission
The pair’s Housing Pipeline report shows reveals that permission for 321,982 new homes was granted during the 12-month period up from 278,652 the year before. However, the data also indicated that there has been a “slight cooling” in the residential development pipeline in the second quarter of the year with the number homes approved falling 14% from the first quarter yet the figure is still up 13% on the year before.
“These record planning permission figures are a clear indication that housebuilders are committed to increasing housing output. We’ve seen 50% growth in output over the last three years and these figures indicate that progress can continue,” Stewart Baseley, the executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, states.
Help to Buy drives growth
The rise demonstrates a confidence amongst house builders driven by a strong take up of the Government’s Help to Buy scheme, with more than 200,000 people, the majority first time buyers, living a new home thanks to Help to Buy.
Commenting the Help to Buy effect, Stewart Baseley said: “The Help to Buy scheme hasn’t just helped 200,000 people buy a home; it has helped them to buy a new build home which is, in turn, boosting supply and generating huge benefits for communities, councils and the Exchequer”.
“While the availability of mortgages has improved since 2013, without Help to Buy, a first-time buyer would once again be forced to find tens of thousands of pounds just to fund a deposit. Ultimately If people can buy, builders can build and confidence in demand is crucial to future build rates. The figures show that if demand for new homes remains strong and the planning system processes applications efficiently, further increases in build rates can be delivered in the coming years," he added.
The Home Builders Federation is now urging the government to clarify the future of the Help to Buy scheme beyond its current expiry date of 2021, with investment decisions on land, training and supply chains increasingly needing to factor in whether the scheme will be supporting sales.
Some concerns still
Despite planning permissions hitting an all-time high the Home Builders Federation warned that due to the laborious planning system it could still take three to four years for all the homes to be build. The trade body also raised concern that the number of sites on which the permissions are being granted is continuing to drop. The Home Builders Federation believes that trend suggests that bigger sites are being favoured and it called upon local authorities to allocate an increased number of smaller sites, particularly to aid smaller housebuilders and to “lead to increases in both the number of homes being built and industry capacity”.
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