Plans approved for almost 238,000 new homes in past year

Posted 8 October 2014

There has been a sharp rise in the number of approved planning applications for the construction of new homes nationwide, fresh data shows.

Figures from Barbour ABI, the chosen provider of the government’s Construction and Infrastructure Pipeline, show that 238,000 homes were granted planning consent from September 2013 to August 2014.

The news will be warmly welcomed by many housebuilders and house-hunters alike, as more new homes are desperately needed to help tackle the acute housing shortage in this country, and in turn curb rising house prices which have been fuelled over the past 18 months by the widening supply-demand imbalance.

However, the research also reveals that building work has still not started on almost half of the new homes approved by planners, with just 129,000 units actually started construction between September 2013 and August 2014, indicating that more needs to be done to plug the gap between planning permissions and builds starting on site.

The data also highlighted London and the South East’s dominance over housebuilding activity, with both regions combined accounting for almost a third of all planning permissions. The North West and South West were not far behind with 12% and 11% respectively, and housebuilding at its lowest in the North East and Wales at 5% and 3% respectively.

Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI, said: “These latest figures clearly indicate that, while there are potentially enough homes in the pipeline to meet the Labour Party’s target of delivering 200,000 affordable homes a year by 2020, more needs to be done to get work underway so that the overall number of new homes being built can continue to increase.”

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