Planning permissions up 31% says HBF

Planning permissions for new homes are up 31 per cent year-on-year according to the latest data from the Home Builders Federation.

In the third quarter of 2013 there were 44,251 permissions on 826 sites, which is up 19 per cent on the 37,053 granted the previous quarter and is the highest quarterly tally since 2007.

The planning figures are the latest positive indicators to emerge for the sector. Last week official Government statistics showed the number of private sector new homes started in England in the third quarter was up 29 per cent year-on-year to the highest level since the first quarter of 2008.

While the National House Building Council, the largest new home warranty provider, said registrations of new homes in the third quarter were up 19 per cent on last year.

The HBF says that while extremely positive in demonstrating an upward trend, the total figure is still well short of the 60,000 permissions required on average per quarter to meet the country’s level of housing need.

It says that it is also concerning that many residential planning permissions come with long lists of conditions that local authorities then take a long time to clear, which then delays house builders from starting work on new sites.

But HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley says that the rise in permissions shows that the house building industry is looking to quickly increase output.

He says: “We have already seen evidence of a rise in new homes starts and these figures show the industry’s intent to increase and sustain that over the next few years. Developers are building out current sites more quickly and are now looking to invest in new sites and begin development sooner than previously planned.”