New home completions reach pre-pandemic levels 

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HOUSEBUILDERS completed 40,289 new homes in the second quarter of 2022 – a 16 per cent year-on-year increase, according to the National House Building Council, NHBC, figures.

Private sector completions saw a 23 per cent year-on-year at 29,963 but affordable and rental sector completions stayed flat at 10,326.

NHBC chief executive Steve Wood said: “Our latest figures demonstrate that output from the new homes market has made a solid return.

“At this stage, we are not seeing evidence that the cost-of-living crisis or risks of recession are affecting consumer demand, whilst registration levels reinforce continued confidence within the sector.”

Eleven out of 12 UK regions saw growth in the number of new home completions, with

the Northeast leading the way with 1,781 new homes – a 39 per cent year-on-year increase. The East Midlands came second with 4,117 new homes – a 34 per cent increase with Wales showing a slight decrease of 1,183 homes compared with 1,189 new homes.

New plot registrations jumped by 45 per cent in the second quarter to 66,855 as builders rushed to beat the cost of new energy efficiency regulations introduced in June.

Restricting new permissions on land with planning will harm supply

However, housebuilders are concerned that both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have said that they will no longer stick to the Conservative party manifesto of building 300,000 new homes a year by the mid 2020s. Particularly worrying for the industry is Mr Sunak’s requirement that land with planning must be built on before permissions can be granted in the same area. The National Federation of Builders, NFB, fears smaller developers will be most affected by this approach because most of their sites are typically not allocated.

“No new permissions simply shrinks the pool of land which will and can come forward and therefore encourages large, slow to deliver sites to be allocated to meet demand need,” said the NFB’s housing and planning head Rico Wojtulewicz.

He said it was unclear if the proposed policy targeted landowners and promotors or builders buying options on the site.

Property finance brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said getting planning conditions signed off took time and that development finance lenders were worried land supply would dry up if the policy was adopted.

The NHBC offers warranty and insurance for about 80 per cent of new build homes in England and its data is seen as a key indicator of housebuilding activity. 

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