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Policy & Activities

30 June, 2016

Planning permissions highest since 2008

The number of planning permissions granted for new homes in Q1 of this year remained high, HBF and Glenigan’s latest Housing Pipeline report shows. Permissions for 66,102 homes were granted in the first three months of the year in England, up 4% on the previous year.  The Moving Annual Total has now recovered to just short of the pre-crash peak in the 12 months to March 2008, and is ahead of the levels in 2006 and 2007, suggesting house building can continue increasing to meet the very high level of demand for new homes.

Whilst many of these permissions still have some way to go before builders can start building them, the figures are a strong indicator of future supply.

Permissions have risen steadily every year since 2009, with actual housing supply also increasing markedly over the past two years as more of the permissions have progressed to the point where builders can begin building. The last 12 months have seen a 66% increase in permissions granted on the nadir of the recession in 2009. Numbers are now only 0.3% below where they were at the highest point in early 2008.

Demand for new homes remains extremely strong. HBF estimates there is a shortfall of well over one million homes in England. Almost a third of young people (3.35m) are living at home with their parents and 1.24 million people are on housing waiting lists. The Help to Buy equity loan scheme continues to drive demand for new homes and interest rates remain historically low.

Over 180,000 new homes were added to the housing stock in 2014/15 – up 22% on the previous year - as house builders increased output in response to the rise in demand for new homes.

Speaking today, Peter Andrew, Deputy Chairman of the HBF, said;

“Planning permissions are a strong indicator of future levels of supply. The past two years have seen huge increases in building levels, with housing supply in England surpassing 180,000 homes per year in 2014-15, up 22% on the previous year. We still face an acute housing shortage in this country. Millions of young people remain at home with their parents and we estimate we are over a million homes short of what the country needs. Help to Buy equity loan is driving demand and helping thousands of first time buyers a week purchase a new build home and with interest rates remaining at historically low levels, demand remains strong.”

Allan Wilén, Economics Director, Head of Business Market Intelligence at Glenigan said;

“The level of planning approvals remains strong, driven by an increase in the number of private housing units approved. The firm development pipeline demonstrates that housebuilders are well placed to meet any strengthening in demand from house buyers.”

Many of the permissions counted in the report still have many hurdles to cross as they navigate the complexities of the planning system before actual building work can get underway – for example discharging planning conditions. The industry will continue to urge Government to streamline the planning process and ensure Local Authorities have the capacity to deal with the volume of applications now being processed so builders can get on to more sites more quickly.

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For media enquiries, or to arrange an interview, please contact Steve Turner on 020 7960 1606 or 07919 307760. Steve.turner@hbf.co.uk     

Notes to editors

  1. The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the representative body of the home building industry in England and Wales. The HBF’s member firms account for some 80% of all new homes built in England and Wales in any one year, and include companies of all sizes, ranging from multi-national, household names through regionally based businesses to small local companies: www.hbf.co.uk
  2.  Glenigan is the UK’s leading provider of construction data, contract leads and construction market analysis. Combining comprehensive data gathering and exhaustive research with detailed statistical modelling and expert analysis, it delivers a trusted insight into UK construction trends and activity.
  3.  The housing approvals data analysed in this report is drawn from Glenigan’s extensive database of current and planned construction projects. Glenigan’s detailed coverage of planned housing projects across the UK offers valuable strategic and tactical insights into developers’ active sights and pipeline, with sites tracked through to completion. www.glenigan.com
  4.  ‘Permissions’ are measured when the first ‘reserve matter’ attached to the consent is approved. Before an ‘implementable’ permissions is granted that allows work to start on site, a planning obligations (S106) agreement will almost always have to be agreed and signed and all pre-commencement planning conditions attached to the permission have to be discharged. Some permissions will have up to 100 conditions attached.
  5.  Housing supply – new dwellings, conversions and changes of use (such as office to residential) reached 181,310 in 2014/15, the highest number recorded since 208/9. Factoring in 10,610 demolitions, net supply was 170,690.
  6.  Housing Pipeline shows permissions granted on all sites. Previous versions did not include numbers for sites of under 10 units. All historic figures have been adjusted to reflect the change in methodology
HPL REPORT 2016 Q1
(Size: 320 K, Type: pdf, last modified: 07.03.17)