Home permissions highest for over 10 years, say housebuilders

Planning permissions were granted for more than 350,000 new homes in England in 2017, the highest figures for more than 10 years, according to new data published today by housebuilders.

New homes: numbers up, according to research
New homes: numbers up, according to research

The Housing Pipeline research, by trade body the Home Builders Federation (HBF) and construction data analyst Glenigan, shows that there were 351,169 permissions granted in England last year, compared to 293,127 in 2016 and 260,778 in 2015. This equates to a rise of 16 per cent between 2016 and 2017, compared to a 20 per cent rise the previous year.

The numbers have almost doubled since 2011, when 176,209 units were granted permission.

In Scotland, 30,514 units were granted permission last year, the study shows, a rise of 30 per cent compared to 2016. In Wales, there were 9,637 units consented in 2017, a 38 per cent year-on-year rise.

However, according to a statement from the HBF, the homes permitted in 2017 were on 18,079 sites, compared to 21,912 sites in 2007, a drop of almost 4,000.

The HBF said this suggested that permissions "are increasingly on larger sites as local authorities, faced with financial pressures, seek to minimise the number of areas on which development will take place".

It added: "With larger sites typically requiring greater upfront capital and more extensive infrastructure, it can take longer for sites to reach peak build out rates, and small and medium-sized builders are unable to compete for sites."

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation said: "The record number of applications being submitted and approved is a clear demonstration of the industry’s commitment to ramping up housing supply even further than the unprecedented increases of the last four years.

"To build more home needs more land to come through the planning system more quickly, and to encompass a broader range of sites."

Baseley said the government should encourage councils "to grant permissions on a range of sites by type and size rather than merely relying on a few larger sites to meet local housing need".

The research measures permissions from when the first reserved matter attached to the consent is approved.

In response, housing minister Dominic Raab said: "It’s great to see planning permission being granted for more than 350,000 properties last year – and double the number in 2010.

"We are very keen to do more to get Britain building which is why we're reforming planning rules and investing billions in affordable housing and the infrastructure communities need."

The full report can be found here.

Note: this story was updated at 10.30am on Thursday 3 May to include a comment from housing minister Dominic Raab.

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