Tories accused of inflating housebuilding stats

November 15, 2016 / Isla MacFarlane
Tories accused of inflating housebuilding stats

Housebuilders were given a reason to be cheerful today (15 November), as new government figures show that nearly 200k homes were added to the housing stock in the last financial year, suggesting a 52% increase in housing supply over the past three years.

However, the figures, which record changes in the net supply of housing, include new dwellings which have been ‘converted’ from existing homes or business premises as well as new homes built.

The latest data shows that the number of new build completions is still 18% lower than before the global financial crisis in 2007/8. The overall net supply of homes is 15% lower. A total of 163,940 new build homes were built – a modest 6% increase.

“These are yet more disappointing housebuilding figures,” said John Healey, Shadow Secretary of State for Housing. “On the most recent figures, the government are set to miss even their own housebuilding target by a big margin. We won’t hit a million homes built until 2025.”

The time taken to get a planning permission to the stage where builders can actually build has also lengthened; it takes on average over six years for a large site to receive a full consent.

“An 11 per cent increase in net supply to 189,650 net additions in 2015/16 is a step in the right direction but it falls far short of the 250,000 homes required each year to meet new and existing housing need,” said CIH chief executive Terrie Alafat.

“With more and more people struggling to find an affordable place to live and increasing homelessness it’s vital that government uses next week’s Autumn Statement and the imminent housing white paper to significantly step-up supply and make sure people of all income level can access a home they can afford,” she added.

Although wide of the mark, the figures nonetheless represent a third consecutive year of growth and the highest annual total in eight years.

“We promised to turbocharge house building so more people can have the security of their own home, and that is exactly what we are doing with the biggest increase in the number of new homes in many years,” said Housing Minister Gavin Barwell. “We know there is more to do to ensure the housing market works for everyone and not just the privileged few and we will be setting our further details in our housing white paper shortly.”

Planning permissions are now running at C275k a year, according to a statement from the House Building Federation (HBF). “Planning permissions are generally built out over the next three to five years, depending on size of site and advanced infrastructure requirements etc. and output now broadly matches the volume of permissions granted in 2012/13,” the statement said.

“In response to the positive measures introduced by Government in recent years, such as Help to Buy, huge increases in output have been delivered,” said Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation. “Providing Government continues to create an environment within which the industry can operate and grow housebuilders will continue to increase delivery of new homes.

“As we build desperately needed new homes the industry is creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs directly and in the supply chain boosting local economies across the country. Moving forward, the house building industry will play a key role in building a new Britain and driving our post-Brexit economy.”

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