The Beast from the East, economic and political uncertainty and the ongoing skills crisis have pushed down the number of homes in the pipeline.
New figures from NHBC have revealed that 154,698 new homes were registered to be built in the 2017/18 financial year, a slight decrease of 2% on the record 157,805 registrations seen in FY 2016/17, with growth in six out of 12 of the UK regions.
Nevertheless, this represents the second highest number of registrations in a decade. With growth in the first three quarters of FY 2017/18, compared to the previous year, 116,451 new homes were registered in the private sector (compared to 117,987 in 2016/17) and 38,247 homes were registered in the affordable sector (compared to 39,818 in 2016/17).
Six out of the 12 UK regions experienced growth in FY 2017/18, with the most notable increases in the North West (18,272 +21%), East Midlands (14,314 +12%) and Wales (5,384 +11%).
The new figures revealed a slower start to 2018, with 36,637 new homes registered in the first three months of the year, compared to 42,405 in the same period last year, a decrease of 14%.
This fall in registrations in the first three months of 2018 can in part be attributed to the exceptionally bad weather during the start of the year, which severely affected progress on building sites across the country. There are anecdotal reports from some housebuilders that up to 30 days were lost on site in the first quarter of the year as a direct result of the arctic conditions.
Other contributory factors include the well-documented shortages in skills across the house-building industry, caution around Brexit and short-term market fluctuations.
Despite the challenges in the first quarter of the year, longer-term trends indicate continued growth in new home registrations, with industry confidence strong amongst UK house builders in both the private and affordable sectors.
NHBC Chief Executive Steve Wood said, “New home registration figures for the last financial year have reached the second highest level in a decade, despite a challenging start to 2018, with freezing weather conditions affecting building sites up and down the country.”
“Business confidence in both the private and affordable sectors remains high with clear routes to continued growth in 2018, and NHBC will continue to help support house builders to build the high quality new homes that people across the UK need.”