Quarterly housing approvals fall 19% but housebuilders say annual total remains strong

The number of homes granted planning permission across Britain dropped 19 per cent in the second quarter of 2018 but more than 360,000 units were permitted in the year up to June, according to the latest figures from housebuilders.

New homes construction: permissions down in second quarter of 2018, data shows
New homes construction: permissions down in second quarter of 2018, data shows

Data compiled by trade body the Home Builders Federation (HBF) and construction analyst Glenigan, part of their regular Housing Pipeline research, shows that councils granted permission for 87,636 houses in the three months to June 2018.

The figure is 19 per cent down compared to the first three months of the year, 12 per cent down on the same quarter last year, and is the lowest quarterly total since late 2016, according to the research.

However, the study found a total of 369,254 homes were granted permission in the 12 months to June 2018 and housebuilders pointed to a year-on-year increase in the number of newly-consented projects.

Across Britain, Glenigan said 5,753 projects were granted permission in the second quarter of the year, an increase of 17 per cent compared to the same period in 2017.

Allan Wilen, economics director at Glenigan, said: "The residential development pipeline remains strong, despite a second quarter dip in residential unit approvals from the historically high levels seen over the last year. Indeed, the number of projects securing approval was up 17 per cent on a year ago as permission was granted for more smaller sites."

Glenigan said the decline in approvals was driven by an 11 per cent drop in the number of private housing units approved and a 29 per cent fall in units approved on social housing projects.

Housing schemes of 10 or more units accounted for 87 per cent of approved units, according to the report. The remainder were on projects including self-build schemes, homes included within non-residential projects, and the conversion of non-residential properties.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman at the HBF, said: "The fact that permissions are now running at over 350,000 a year shows that builders are investing in the land needed to deliver more homes.

"If we are to get to 300,000 homes a year, we need to see consistently high levels of permissions being granted, and then crucially, processed efficiently.

"We also need to see the new planning system implemented by local authorities as intended and more sites, of all sizes, coming forward."

Last month, figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government showed that almost 352,000 homes were granted permission in the year up to June 30 2018, a rise of six per cent from the same period last year.

In May, previous Housing Pipeline research showed that there were 351,169 permissions granted in England in 2017, compared to 293,127 in 2016 and 260,778 in 2015. This equated to a rise of 16 per cent between 2016 and 2017, compared to a 20 per cent rise the previous year.

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