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Huge leap in number of new homes approved

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Further signs that house building rates are accelerating have emerged in new analysis, revealing that 195,000 new homes passed the first planning stage last year

The figures by consultancy Glenigan show that the number of homes granted planning permission had shot up 12 per cent compared with 2013 - a 39 per cent increase on 2012.

The Home Builders Federation, which commissioned the research, said the increase was due to ‘improved consumer confidence’ and government-backed equity loan schemes, set up to ease access to mortgages.

According to the Federation, this has helped builders pushing extra sites through the planning regime, transferring the pressure to accelerate housing supply onto local authorities’ cash-strapped planning departments.

‘While the increases are positive, they can only be translated into desperately needed new homes if local authorities ensure their planning departments have the capacity to process these permissions to the stage [where] they can actually be built,’ it said in a statement.

The HBF estimates that some 150,000 plots of land are ‘stuck’ at the outline planning permission stage.

Stewart Baseley, executive chair of the HBF, said: ‘These figures are a barometer on potential future build rates. But to turn them into actual construction sites requires local authorities to process them in a timely fashion to the stage when builders can build.’

Glenigan’s economic director, Allan Wilén, said: ‘The rise in approvals has been broadly based across Britain, pointing to widespread strengthening in housing market activity.’

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