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Housing crisis warning as planning permissions fall 10%

Planning permissions dropped 10 per cent in the last quarter, potentially intensifying the country’s housing crisis, according to the Home Builders Federation

The figures from the HBF Housing Pipeline report (attached), provided by economists Glenigan, reveal that approvals for just 32,900 homes across England were granted in the third quarter of this year, a 10 per cent drop on the same period last year.

The HBF said this number is half the 60,000 permissions required to build the homes needed to meet demand – and half the permissions granted each quarter in 2006 and 2007.

The federation said at a time when fewer homes were being built in England than at any time since the 1920s, the figures point towards a housing crisis in England.

The figures come after the AJ’s sister publication Construction News also reported how housing project starts fell by almost a quarter in the three months to November compared to 2010, spiralling overall construction starts downwards by 10 per cent.

The HBF said an additional 140,000 homes a year are needed to meet demand, which could in turn create half a million jobs.

The government is currently considering responses to its consultation on the National Planning Policy Framework.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman at the HBF, said: ‘These figures demonstrate clearly why the government must stand firm and deliver a robust planning system that provides enough land to meet the nation’s housing needs. Its recent Housing Strategy contained some very positive measures, but if they are to bear fruit, the planning system must be fit for purpose.

‘Continuing to under-deliver housing is storing up huge social and economic problems for the years ahead and it must be addressed.’

Allan Wilén, Glenigan’s economics director, added: ‘The flow of residential approvals remains extremely weak.’

The report reveals:

  • Approval for just 32,900 units were granted in Q3 – 10 per cent down on Q3 2010 – against a requirement of 60,000
  • Number of social units approved in Q3 down 58 per cent on Q3 2010
  • Overall number of units approved in first nine months of 2011 down 17 per cent on 2010
  • Quarterly average in 2011 now 33,280 compared to 38,500 in 2010
  • Quarterly average in 2006 and 2007 was 64,500

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