The report by law firm Gowling WLG, based on data gathered from 100 UK housebuilders, says that for many, the appeal process "is more efficient than resubmitting an amended application or awaiting a local plan allocation where absent".
The survey found that 45 per cent of housebuilders are "serial appealers", taking more than 30 per cent of rejected applications to appeal.
The document says that the "sheer volume of successful appeals is almost certainly caused by an absence, in some areas, of up-to-date local plans".
But it says this situation is likely to change as measures introduced by the government to encourage council’s to adopt local plans take effect.
"With more councils able to determine permissions in line with up-to-date local plans, it will be much more challenging for housebuilders to contest decisions, especially if the principle of where development is to come forward is fixed," it says.
"Planning by appeal is frustratingly inefficient and evidence of a system that requires immediate change," said Vicky Fowler, planning partner at Gowling WLG.
"While the introduction of measures to encourage local plans is a step in the right direction, this will increase the need for housebuilders to promote sites that they feel are suitable for development, consulting with councils directly to increase the chances of planning success."