Planning consents for new homes hits six-year high
The number of planning permissions issued for the construction of new homes in the UK has reached its highest level since 2008 as developers rush to meet growing demand for housing across the country, according to new figures from the Home Builders Federation (HBF).
The data reveals that 177,731 consents were issued in the year to the end of the first quarter of 2014 with 43,926 in the first three months of the year alone.
The HBF said that the rise in housebuilding activity has been fuelled by greater demand from buyers, supported partly by the Help to Buy equity loan scheme.
"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," said Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF.
However, the report, produced for HBF by Glenigan, suggests that the government needs to do more to help make it easier for developers to secure permission to build new homes, as the existing supply of properties being built is still not enough to meet high demand.
It points out that the number of sites consented has actually dropped to 679 from 885 in the fourth quarter of 2013 and 807 in the same quarter last year.
Baseley added: "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."
A separate report published by planning consultancy Turley suggests that England and Wales is facing a shortfall of well over 250,000 homes over the next four years due to a lack of readily available sites.