Figures released at the end of July show an increase of the number of planning permissions being granted in the first quarter of this year in England, a 19% increase on permissions granted in Q2 2014.

HBF-LOGOHousing supply has been a hot topic this year with the low levels of housebuilding over many years finally being pinpointed as one of the causes of the country’s housing crisis.

Although it is good news that more permissions are being granted there is still a long way to go to deliver those homes, more hurdles in the planning system to jump before construction even begins. Whilst other initiatives like Help to Buy have stimulated demand and pushed forward the number of new homes being built, the planning system has not been suitably modernised and streamlined to accommodate the required number of newly built properties required.

The number of new households each year has exceeded the number of homes built every year since 2008*.

The Productivity Plan released by the government in July has a section entitled ‘Planning freedoms and more houses to buy’ in which solutions to the issues surrounding land, local authorities, local plans, zoning systems and the planning process are discussed. As these changes take effect it is hoped a new, faster and more pragmatic system will come into existence.

From April 2014-April 2015 there were 203,810 permissions granted, in 2012/13 there were just 108,190 completions so the industry has come on well so far but has not yet reached the minimum of 220,000 houses the House Building Federation (HBF) suggest is needed**.

Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the HBF commented “Since the Help to Buy scheme was introduced in 2013 house building activity has increased strongly. Private housing starts in 2014 were up nearly 40% on their pre-Help to Buy level in 2012. However we are still only building around half the number of new homes the country needs, and far fewer than in previous decades.

“One of the biggest constraints on the industry’s ability to meet the new level of demand and deliver further sustained increases in build rates is the planning process. How quickly we get more sites to the point where we can actually start to lay bricks will be a major influence on future house building levels.

“The headline announcements made in the Productivity Plan sound very positive. What is key is that the detail is now developed and the proposals implemented as soon as is possible.

“Increasing housing delivery will provide the high-quality homes our next generation needs, support thousands of companies up and down the land and create tens of thousands of jobs.”

If you look at this interesting infographic from HBF’s document, The Economic Footprint of UK House Building (March 2015) it is clear to see an increase in  housebuilding will not only boost the chances of many to own a home it will provide a much-needed boost to the UK economy.HousebuildingFootprint

If you wish to discuss how these changes could benefit you as a land owner or developer please contact Katherine Gray, Land Manager on 01252 762007 or email land@mackenziesmith.co.uk.

* http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/key-issues-parliament-2015/social-protection/housing-supply/

**http://www.hbf.co.uk/media-centre/facts-statistics/