Royal Mail: Northern cities lead housebuilding boom

September 26, 2018 / Isla MacFarlane
Royal Mail: Northern cities lead housebuilding boom

Royal Mail has commissioned a new report to paint a detailed picture of where and in which industries modern Britain is building; following recent reports of a £72bn construction boom in the last twenty years.

Manchester is very much at the epicentre of this growth, with 9,127 new development plans applied for in the last three years. This trend is closely followed by other districts in Northern England, including Leeds, Salford, Liverpool and Wigan – reflecting growing confidence in the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ concept.

The main driving force behind this development surge is new housing. In the last five years, the value of constructed housing has doubled. Tower Hamlets officially records the largest rise in new homes – with a 14% upturn between 2010 and 2017 – followed by Corby (11%)(3).

Flats are the fastest growing type of new housing to be built in recent years and now account for almost a quarter (22%) of British residential properties. Detached houses have also seen growth of 4% in the last five years.

Across England & Wales, the top fifteen local authorities with the highest share of properties as flats are all in Greater London. In the City of London, a staggering 98% of residential properties are flats.

However, towns and cities on the south coast also feature highly – for example half of properties in Brighton & Hove and Bournemouth are flats.

Many other construction sectors have benefitted from a sizable building boom in the last five years, including office spaces (a 92% increase), schools and universities (35%) and entertainment venues (62%), ranging from theatres to bowling alleys.

Cornwall’s expanding tourist industry makes it the local authority with the largest rise in developments of residential properties in absolute terms, with 17,450 homes built in the last seven years.

Birmingham, Edinburgh, Tower Hamlets and Wiltshire local authorities have seen a particularly high surge in development plans in the last three years (on average 8,303 new developments per location).

Steve Rooney, Head of Address Management Unit at Royal Mail said, “As we deliver to over 30 million addresses across the UK, our ‘Not Yet Built’ database is notified of any new building developments – either business or residential. I hope we’ll be delivering to most – if not all – of these fledgling properties in years to come.”

Lord Jim O’Neill, Vice Chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, added, “It has been clear for some time that parts of the Northern Powerhouse, in particular the North West, are actually doing far better than people seem to think; even outperforming London in some areas.

“This is welcome news. The unique aspect of the Northern Powerhouse, and why it is so crucial in rebalancing the economy, is that its towns and cities are close enough to create a true single market which can have a significant national impact.”

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