Housing supply up 2%, says government

By Rebekah Commane

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Nov 21, 2018
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Housing supply increased by more than 222,000 the UK in 2017 to 2018, up 2 per cent on the years 2016 to 2017.

Annual figures released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government found that 222,190 in additional dwellings was made up of 195,290 new build homes, 29,720 gains from change of use between non-domestic and residential, 4,550 from conversions between houses and flats and 680 other gains (caravans, house boats etc.), offset by 8,050 demolitions.

A total of 13,526 of the net additions from change of use were through ‘permitted development rights’ (full planning permission not required). These comprised 11,555 additional dwellings from former offices, 743 from agricultural buildings, 218 from storage buildings, 110 from light industrial buildings and 900 from other non-domestic buildings.

Of the figures, secretary of state James Brokenshire says: “Today’s figures are great news and show another yearly increase in the number of new homes delivered, but we are determined to do more to keep us on track to deliver the homes communities need.

“That’s why we have set out an ambitious package of measures to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s. This includes over £44bnn investment, rewriting the planning rules and scrapping the borrowing cap so councils can deliver a new generation of council housing.”

Thistle Finance managing director Mark Dyason says: “The number of new build homes may be at its highest for a decade but it’s up just 2 per cent on last year, highlighting the glacial pace at which homes are being built.

“Brexit uncertainty is almost certainly a factor in the near negligible growth in the number of new build homes since last year.

“Housebuilders and would be-buyers alike are nervous about what the fall-out from Brexit could be and that’s hit the number of net additional dwellings hard.

“The fact that the number of new homes being built as a result of Permitted Development Rights also fell sharply will be a particular blow to the Government.

“Permitted development rights were meant to ignite the UK housebuilding market but on this evidence are already starting to fizzle out.

“The irony is that there has never been a more competitive and dynamic borrowing environment for developers.

“There has been an influx of new lenders and challenger banks into the development sector over the past two to three years. This has brought rates down and offered greater choice to developers, both large and small.

“With Brexit looming, the UK construction sector has been like a rabbit in the lights.”

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