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Housing permissions at highest level since 2008

Mowat and Company's scheme for Peabody in Morpeth Road
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Planning permissions for new homes in England are at their highest level in seven years, according to new research 

The latest Housing Pipeline report from the Home Builders Federation (HBF) and Glenigan shows planning permission was granted for 255,032 new homes in England in 2015. This marks a rise of 57 per cent from the low point in 2009, when only 162,204 homes were approved, and a seven per cent increase on the previous year’s total (239,310 in 2014).

Permissions rose 13 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared to the same period the previous year, to 74,759.

The report found that in Scotland there was a two per cent increase in planning permissions in 2015 to 18,135. However the number of residential units approved in Wales fell 17 per cent year-on-year to 8,043.

A spokesperson for the HBF said the organisation was talking to the Welsh Government about how the nation could improve its ’operating environment’ for housebuilders in Wales, which is ‘more onerous’ than other parts of the country. He added that Wales only recently introduced the Help to Buy scheme, which is driving demand in England.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF, said the number of planning applications being submitted in England demonstrated the industry’s commitment to further increase housing supply.

‘The past two years have seen huge increases in house-building levels, with housing supply in England surpassing 180,000 homes per year in 2014-15, up 22 per cent on the previous year,’ he said.

‘While the increase in the number of permissions is welcome – and a strong indicator of future supply – many still have to navigate the complexities of the planning system. This is a further sign that house builders continue to step up investment in future housing supply but we need to see these permissions being processed to the stage where we can get onto site and start building more quickly and really start to meet demand for housing.’

’The recovery in housing market activity is becoming more established across the country’

Allan Wilén, economics director, head of business market intelligence at Glenigan, added: ‘The strong rise in planning approvals during the closing months of 2015, driven by an increase in the number of private housing units approved, bodes well for housebuilding activity during the current year. The expanded development pipeline will help housebuilders to meet any strengthening in demand from house buyers.

‘Furthermore the rise marked rise in approvals in the Midlands and north of England last year demonstrates that the recovery in housing market activity is becoming more established across the country.’

Meanwhile, data released by the National House Building Council (NHBC) revealed a 10 per cent increase in the number of new homes being completed in the latest financial year up to the end of March, compared to 2014/15, with 137,396 completions in total.

Home completions according to data from the NHBC (April 2016)
Country/regionFinancial YearFinancial Year 
  2015/16 2014/15  
England - Regions Completions Completions  
North East 5,059 5,178  
North West 12,262 11,290  
Yorkshire & the Humber 7,588 7,281  
West Midlands 11,922 10,708  
East Midlands 11,829 10,725  
Eastern 13,486 13,352  
South West 13,683 13,117  
Greater London 22,207 17,972  
South East 20,653 17,822  
Totals for England 118,579 107,455  
Scotland - Councils 11,145 10,918  
Wales - Unitary Authorities 4,661 4,246  
Northern Ireland - Counties 2,831 2,598  
Totals for UK 137,396 125,217  


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