Q1 planning approvals rise 15% year-on-year

The number of homes granted planning approval in the first quarter of 2015 was up 15 per cent year-on-year, according to a new report.

The Home Builders Federation and Glenigan say 58,200 units were granted approval in Q1, compared with around 50,000 in Q1 2014. At 706, the number of private sector housing projects securing approval during the period was 12 per cent down on the previous quarter but 22 per cent up annually.

Although planning approvals are up year-on-year, house prices continue to rise while the units go through the build phase. Last week, the Land Registry reported that the average house in England and Wales had increased in value by 5.4 per cent to £181,619 in the year to June. On a monthly basis, average prices rose by 1.1 per cent.

HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley welcomes the increased number of properties gaining planning approval and praises the role of Help to Buy in particular.

But he adds: “We are still building only around half the number of new homes the country needs and far fewer than in previous decades.

“One of the biggest constraints on the industry’s ability to meet the new level of demand and deliver further sustained increases in build rates is the planning process. How quickly we get more sites to the point where we can actually start to lay bricks will be a major influence on future housebuilding levels.

“The headline announcements made in the Productivity Plan [the Government’s recently announced proposals to overhaul the planning system] sound very positive. What is key is that the detail is now developed and the proposals implemented as soon as possible.

“Increasing housing delivery will provide the high-quality homes our next generation needs, support thousands of companies up and down the land and create tens of thousands of jobs.”