The number of applications to build new homes was up four per cent this summer compared to last year, according to the National House Building Council (NHBC)
‘The figures show consistent improvement and these positive signs extend across the UK,’ said the NHBC’s Imtiaz Farookhi.
NHBC, who insure more than 80 per cent of new homes in the UK, received 24,136 applications in the three months from July to September this year. The largest increase was 149 per cent in the North East region.
Northern Ireland saw an increase of 55 per cent, but many regions saw a fall in the number of new homes started: the West Midlands saw a year-on-year drop of 13 per cent, while levels were also lower than a year ago in Merseyside, Greater London, Yorkshire and the Humber and eastern regions.
‘The sector has weathered the traditionally slow summer period, but we must now see out the autumn and hope that this confidence extends to the end of the year,’ said Farookhi.
Private sector applications went up 17 per cent, according to the statistics, but public sector applications were down 13 per cent.
‘It doesn’t really reflect what’s out there in terms of the delivery of houses,’ said Peter Cartwright of Cartwright Pickard Architects. ‘The reality is that receiving planning permission for a project is one thing but getting the funding to build is proving harder’.
‘Over the last quarter it’s been so low that a 4 per cent increase is not a big deal,’ said Peter Smith of Stephen Davy Peter Smith Architects, ‘But in our own practice during the current quarter we have probably had a bigger increase than that in applications and commissions’.
He added: ‘I think things are looking as though they are getting a bit better but could be a bit fragile.’
Grant Shapps, Conservative shadow housing minister, said: ‘That’s good, but there’s clearly one heck of a long way to go.’