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New homes bonanza: figures show housing boom is private sector-led

Further evidence has emerged that the housing sector is finally out of the doldrums, with new figures indicating the boom has been led by the resurgent private sector

Last week the Home Builders Federation (HBF) Pipeline Report revealed that the number of homes granted planning permission in 2013 had hit 174,471 - the highest number since 2007.

The HBF report, which was compiled by industry tracker Glenigan, also showed that in the last quarter of 2013, 52,534 new homes were granted planning, the highest quarterly total since Q1 2008.

The news comes hot on the heels of the government’s own statistics which last week showed that the number of new homes started in 2013 was up 23 per cent with a 29 per cent year-on-year increase in private housing starts since the launch of the Help to Buy scheme.

The HBF report also revealed that in England:

  • Q4 permissions granted were up 19% on Q3 and 17% on Q4 2012
  • 2013 permissions were up 24% on 2012 and 51% on 2011
  • 885 sites were granted approval, the highest quarterly total since Q1 2008
  • 51% more permissions were granted in 2013 than at the ‘trough’ in 2011

The boost in private housing also chimes with findings from the DCLG’s newly-released English Housing Survey 2012 – 2013 which revealed that for the first time the private rented sector has surpassed the social rented sector.

According to the survey 18 per cent of homes were privately rented with 17 per cent being social housing. The largest sector remains owner occupiers at 65 per cent.

Ian Fletcher, director of policy at the British Property Federation said: ‘The news that the private rented sector has become the second largest tenure in England underlines the importance of this sector in the housing recovery.

‘As economic conditions have taken their toll over the last few years we can see that the needs of a generation have changed, and that the housing market needs to respond to this.

‘Institutional investment in the PRS (private rental sector), and support from the government to make sure this happens, can play its part in ensuring that we are able to provide the homes that are so badly needed in England.

Darryl Flay, chief executive of Essential Living, the developer behind Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ 44-storey rented residential tower in Elephant & Castle said the swing to private rentals could be the start of a new era in UK housing:

“Focusing on long-term income rather than the short-term returns gained from selling homes for sale is a different business model from the one I spent 25 years perfecting at major housebuilders.

‘PRS could deliver a step-change in Britain’s approach to housing,’ said Flay .

Last month property agent Savills and the DCLG forecast a 55 per cent rise in the number of homes built over the next five years, from 108,000 in 2013 to 167,000 in 2018.

Private sector housebuilding is forecast to climb 8 per cent over the next four years, seeing a total increase of 35 per cent over the five-year period.

However, even with this increased output, private housebuilders would still be producing fewer than the 203,320 homes they built in 1968 when construction peaked.

Housebuilding completions 2000 to 2018

Source: Savills/DCLG

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