More than 50% of UK developers and builders plan to increase construction this year

Taylor Scott International News

More than half of developers and builders in the UK are planning to increase housing starts and completions over the next 12 months, according to a new survey report. Some 56% said they were planning to recruit more skilled workers in the next three years but many want to see more resources in local authority planning departments, the House Building Report 2016 from real estate consultants Knight Frank shows. Indeed, some 30% said making the planning process for public sector land more streamlined would help boost development numbers and 57% said they had not seen an increase in access to public sector land. On top of this 73% said the cost and availability of labour will have a negative impact on future housing supply at a time when it is at the centre of the national and local political debate. The expanding UK population, a structural historical undersupply of new housing and a slowdown in movement up and down the housing chain is now injecting a sense of urgency into the need to deliver more new build property, the report points out. . Over the last five years, the UK Government has made significant changes to the planning system, introduced schemes to boost development and put pressure on local authorities and public bodies to sell surplus land. While there has been an increase in housing delivery, but the supply of new build homes is still lagging demand on an annual basis, disregarding the historical shortfall. The country’s largest housebuilders, along with the Home Builders Federation (HBF), have recently pledged to help deliver one million homes by 2020, recognising that there needs to be ‘significant further action from the housebuilding industry’. The report assesses the next steps required to address the need for housing over the coming years. For example, the need to address the increasingly onerous levels of pre-commencement conditions applied in some planning permissions and the length of time taken to sign them off. The report points out that official house building data released each quarter from Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) shows that some 152,440 new homes were completed across the UK in 2014/2015 and Knight Frank estimates that this will rise to around 172,000 in 2015/2016. New quarterly data on English new build completions show a 12% rise in 2015/2016 to just under 140,000. However, separate retrospective data published by the DCLG shows that 155,080 new homes were completed in 2014/2015. ‘This suggests that the quarterly data is underestimating total house building across England,’ said Grainne Gilmore, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank. ‘Whatever data is considered, there has been a significant step up in the delivery of new homes over the last few years and large house builders are now constructing 60% more homes than in 2010,’ she added. She explained that on an annual basis, Knight Frank estimates a 12% rise in new build completions in the last year. However, on both… Taylor Scott International

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