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Housing permissions hit 10-year high

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More homes were granted planning permission in 2016 than in any other year in the last decade, according to new data from industry tracker Glenigan

Housing units submitted for planning [by quarter] between 2006 to 2016

Housing units submitted for planning [by quarter] between 2006 to 2016

Source: HBF/Glenigan

Housing units submitted for planning [by quarter] between 2006 to 2016

The research, carried out with the House Builders Federation (HBF), revealed that 293,127 homes were approved last year, compared with 288,348 units in 2015.

The total tops the pre-crash peak of 305,493 recorded in 2006 by nearly 15 per cent.

Meanwhile the NHBC reported that 42,470 new homes were registered in the UK in the first three months of the year – an increase of 17 per cent on the 36,351 registered 12 months ago and the highest quarter for registrations in the last 10 years.

Housing units submitted for planning [by quarter] in 2015 and 2016

Housing units submitted for planning [by quarter] in 2015 and 2016

Source: HBF/Glenigan

Housing units submitted for planning [by quarter] in 2015 and 2016

However the HBF/Glenigan Housing Pipeline Report has shown a fall in the number of project sites over the same period, meaning more homes are proposed on fewer sites.

The revelations have prompted the HBF to issue a warning about the need for more smaller sites to be brought forward to ensure the rates of housing delivery are maintained.

An HBF spokesperson said: ‘The increase in the number of units being granted planning permissions by local authorities is welcome. However there is concern at the drop in the number of sites permissioned, falling by 11 per cent compared with 2015 (from 19,600 in 2015 to 17,500 in 2016). This indicates that permissions are being granted on larger ‘strategic’ sites.

‘While the headline number of plots permissioned now exceeds the pre-crash peak by around 15 per cent, the number of sites on which those homes could eventually be built is down by more than 10 per cent on the same time period. 

‘Due to the infrastructure requirements associated with larger sites, these permissions tend to take longer to start being delivered and will tend to be built out over a longer period of time.’

Number of housing projects/sites by applications submitted between 2006 and 2016

Number of housing projects/sites by applications submitted between 2006 and 2016

Source: HBF/Glenigan

Number of housing projects/sites by applications submitted between 2006 and 2016

The HBF added that local authorities needed to be realistic about the rate at which larger plots couild deliver new homes, and that they should not expect ‘one large site to address their housing requirements’.

The spokesperson continued: ‘The average size of permissioned sites has increased by 16 per cent in the last 18 months as local authorities focus their attention on larger sites. This highlights the problems small housebuilders have in finding suitable sites and progressing them through the planning process.’

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