OFT enquiry to scrutinise house building

The Office of Fair Trading has laun-ched an enquiry into the UK’s house building industry, to ensure it isn’t hindering the government’s mission to build more houses.

The consumer affairs watchdog will investigate whether builders are effectively delivering housing or whether developments are being held up at the planning approval stage. It is also looking at whether planning permission is resulting in new homes.

Following the recommendations of economist Kate Barker’s review into house building in 2004, the OFT has been monitoring the market and is concerned it isn’t working effectively.

It says the study will allow it to consider potential competition, consumer concerns and look for ways to improve the experience of buying new-build homes. It will also inspect the quality of new-builds.

However, the study won’t question where development should occur or the environmental impact of new homes.

John Fingleton, chief executive of the OFT, says: “House building is an important market because of its substantial impact on the economy.

“An unresponsive housing supply hinders labour mobility, constrains economic growth and harms consumer interests.”