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Number of new homes gaining planning permission falls to new low – HBF

  • 08/09/2023
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Number of new homes gaining planning permission falls to new low – HBF
The number of housing projects in England that were granted planning permission fell to 2,456 in Q2, data from a housebuilding trade association showed.

This was a tenth down on the preceding quarter and 20 per cent lower than the year before, analysis from the Home Builders Federation (HBF) revealed.  

Its Housing Pipeline report based on information from Glenigan also showed that this was the lowest number of projects that were granted planning permission since the report began in 2006. 

The decline in approved projects follows a nine per cent drop in Q1 and a nine per cent decrease throughout 2022. 

HBF said this was a sign of reduced appetite for investment among housebuilders due to the economy, political decisions and a “riskier” planning environment. 

The HBF warned this could confirm industry warnings and lead to the number of homes being built falling to record lows. 

Some 62,681 homes gained approval in Q2, which was 16 per cent lower than Q1 and 13 per cent down on the same period last year. 

Excluding Q2 2020 which was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, this was the lowest number of approved homes during a quarterly period since 2015. 

Compared to last year, 19 per cent fewer new homes and new sites were approved in the first half of 2023. 

The HBF said if this translated into completions, there could be 44,000 fewer homes delivered this year bringing net housing supply in England down to levels not seen for a decade. 

Earlier this year, the association warned the government that its stance on planning and nutrient neutrality could halve housing supply to 120,000 homes a year. It said its latest report made this look likely. 


Regional differences 

Regionally, approved homes and sites fell the furthest in Yorkshire and the Humber with a 54 per cent decline on the previous quarter. 

This was followed by the East Midlands, London and the South West, where respective falls of 38 per cent, 25 per cent and 20 per cent were recorded. 

Increases were seen in the North East, East of England, West Midlands and Wales where quarterly rises of 26 per cent, 31 per cent, 19 per cent and 29 per cent were respectively recorded. 

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, said: “Over recent years, the policy environment has become increasingly anti-development and anti-business and as a direct result, we are seeing a sharp fall in the number of homes being built. 

“The government’s capitulation to the NIMBY lobby on planning, its mishandling of water legislation and, amidst a lack of mortgage availability, the lack of support for first-time buyers could see housing supply drop markedly in the coming years. Fewer homes being built amidst an acute housing crisis has clear social implications, in particular for young people, and will reduce economic activity and cost jobs.” 

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