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House Building Rates at Highest Level Since 2008
Figures produced by consultants Glenigan show that that more homes passed the first planning stage last year than at any time since 2008. Numbers increased 12% compared to 2013, with 195,000 new homes granted permission. The Home Builders Federation, which commissioned the research, said the increase was due to ‘improved consumer confidence’ and government-backed equity loan schemes set up to ease access to mortgages.
Whilst welcoming the increase, Stewart Baseley, executive chair of the HBF, is still concerned that local authority cuts may slow down progress. “These figures are a barometer on potential future build rates. But to turn them into actual construction sites requires local authorities to process them in a timely fashion to the stage when builders can build,” he said. “We are still only building around half the number of new homes the country needs. Getting the required number of permissions, in a timely manner, is absolutely key to the industry’s ability to deliver. In addition, more needs to be done to speed up the plots that are awaiting final approval to allow construction to commence.”
The HBF estimates that some 150,000 plots of land are ‘stuck’ at the outline planning permission stage. Earlier this week, senior politicians from all the parties joined thousands of people from across the housing sector in Westminster for the Homes for Britain rally. The campaign is urging politicians to introduce policies that will solve the worst housing crisis in a generation.