Permissions and site numbers up

Author: ross sturley cimcig

Permissions for 361,971 new homes were granted in the year to October, according to the latest HBF/Glenigan Housing Pipeline report.

HBF said the figure underlined the “industry’s intent to build even more homes in the years ahead”. This is added to the government’s figures published in November which showed that net housing supply in England increased to 222,190 in the year to April, “up an unprecedented 78% in the past five years,” HBF said.

The Housing Pipeline report also revealed that the number of sites on which permissions had been granted was continuing to rise, HBF noted. At 361,971 permissions on 21,848 different sites, this is the highest moving annual total since the series began in 2006, according to HBF and Glenigan’s data.

“This is very welcome and suggests local authorities are spreading their housing need across more sites instead of relying on fewer larger ones,” HBF said. It pointed out that increasing the number of sites alongside permissions was something it “pushed hard to be enforced through the planning system as it enables more SME builders to play their part in addressing our housing shortage.”

HBF also highlighted another recent positive for permissions – the Help to Buy extension announced in October’s Budget which would “provide further confidence for the industry as it looks to push these permissions through the planning system. Certainty of future demand is absolutely key for builders as they look to invest in these permissions.”

But it also noted the potential impact of Brexit on the economy and consumer confidence, and in particular the effect it stood to have on continued access to skilled overseas workers.

Stewart Baseley, HBF’s executive chairman, said: “Today’s figures clearly show the commitment of the industry to delivering further increases in housing supply. The industry has delivered unprecedented increases in housing supply over recent years and is continuing to invest heavily in the land and people needed to go further.

“The recent confirmation of an extension to the Help to Buy scheme provides further certainty and confidence for builders in future demand. This is enabling them to invest in more sites, their supply chains and recruit and train more people, boosting local economies across the country.

“The industry continues to push government for confirmation that it will have ongoing access to skilled labour from abroad post Brexit, which will be key to its ability to build out these sites.”