JUNGLEdrum News

Outline housing consents reach 2008 levels

The volume of outline planning permissions granted for new homes in the UK has reached its highest level since 2008, according to a report from trade body the Home Builders Federation (HBF).

The Housing Pipeline Report revealed that 177,731 outline planning consents were granted between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014, with the majority of these approvals granted in the second half of 2013.

Compared to the first quarter of 2013, first quarter performance was strong in 2014, supported by greater demand from buyers, helped in part by the Help to Buy equity loan scheme.

But despite the rise in planning approvals, the HBF is calling for an increase in the speed at which outline permissions receive full approval, estimating 150,000 to be awaiting full planning permission, while the supply-demand imbalance across parts of the UK continues to grow.

“All political parties and commentators now agree we are facing an acute housing crisis that will only be solved by building substantially more homes,” said Stewart Baseley (left), Executive Chairman of HBF. “The Help to Buy equity loan scheme has led to a big increase in sales of new homes and the industry has responded and significantly increased output.”

“Existing sites are being built out quicker and we now desperately need new sites to come on stream if we are to see increases in house building sustained. All builders are now identifying the planning system as the biggest threat to further increases in supply”, Baseley added.

A separate report published by planning consultancy Turley shows that England and Wales faces a shortfall of in excess of 250,000 residential properties over the next four years.

The report claims that a minimum of almost 1.2 million new homes need to be developed over the next four years to meet growing demand for properties, while Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) only have land available for in the region of 939,000 homes by 2018, leaving a significant shortfall of at least 258,000 residential units.

John Acres, Director at Turley, commented: “The majority of LPAs are falling short of their minimum five year housing land supply requirements, and this has significant implications for the pace of economic recovery. It is also likely to impact affordability for first time buyers wishing to enter the market.

“The substantial shortfall is, however, only likely to deteriorate as annual dwelling delivery rates remain below those needed to meet the overall requirements across England and Wales.”

The report found that there is a general shortage of properties across the country, including the East Midlands, North West, South East, Yorkshire and Humberside, West Midlands, the East, South West, North East, as well as Wales. But most experts agree that the greatest supply-demand imbalance is being witnessed in London.

Some £154 billion is required to meet private new housing demand in London over the next 10 years, according to Knight Frank’s housing supply report ‘Bridging the Gap’.

The report highlights that despite an increase in development activity in the residential sector, there is still set to be a shortfall in the capital in the years to come.

Examining all residential developments currently in the supply pipeline, over a period of 10 years, Knight Frank has identified that around 33,400 units will be delivered on average each year. This is up from circa 28,000 as shown in last year’s London Residential Development Report. But this is still not enough to meet rising demand for housing, which is being fuelled, among other factors, by London’s growing population, with new forecasts indicating that it will hit 9.4 million in 2022.

Grainne Gilmore (right), Head of UK Residential Research, commented, “The average annual supply of new homes in London since 1980 has been around 16,000 a year. The city needs more than 52,000 homes a year. Activity is rising strongly, but there will still be a shortfall in the years to come.”

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