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NHBC figures show no autumn upturn yet in new homes market

22 Oct 10 The new homes industry is still waiting for autumn’s traditional uplift to get home building quotas back on track, according to latest figures from NHBC.

The number of new homes registered with NHBC dropped slightly during the last month, from 9,954 in August to 9,033 in September.

Figures from NHBC also showed that 29,625 new homes were registered during rolling quarter July – September 2010.

NHBC chief executive Imtiaz Farookhi said: “Despite a strong performance in spring of this year, registration levels during the summer flattened out and there hasn’t been the traditional autumn uplift that perhaps many in the industry were hoping for. 

“Confidence seemed to leave the market around the time of the election and has not returned.  A further contributory factor has been the strictures surrounding mortgage finance, and these constraints have only increased in light of the review from the FSA.

“September’s registration figures have dropped off a little but are certainly an improvement on last year.  However, the autumn selling season, which is traditionally strong, has yet to take hold due no doubt to a ‘wait and see’ policy from consumers who were concerned about the outcome of the Spending Review.” “The Spending Review has brought a reduction in funding for social housing and will, undoubtedly, have a knock-on effect for the sector as a whole and presents a significant threat to the fragile recovery we have experienced thus far.”

NHBC statistics for the rolling quarter July – September 2010 show that:

  • Private sector registrations were up 32 per cent (at 20,594) when compared with the same period last year (15,577)
  • Public sector registrations were 9,031 – 6 per cent higher than the same period a year ago (8,559)
  • Registrations in the combined private and public sectors were 23 per cent up on the same period in 2009 (29,625 compared with 24,136)

Meanwhile figures from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) reveal that the net number of homes added to the housing stock in England fell to a record low in 2009-10, down 23% on 2008/9.

Just 128,680 net additional dwellings were provided last year compared with around 167,000 in 2008/9. This figure is even lower than the previous record low of 130,510. Fewer net additional dwellings were supplied in the 2009-10 financial year than in the previous year in every English region. The North West saw the largest annual decrease (38 per cent), followed by the South East (32 per cent).

The figures were published by DCLG just a day after the government announced large cuts to housing budgets in its spending review. The house builders’ trade association has warned that action is needed to halt the decline and avoid deepening the housing crisis. They argue that since the scrapping of housing targets five months ago there has not been a quick enough introduction of the promised national planning framework and house building incentive –The New Homes Bonus.

This hiatus has been exacerbated by falling mortgage availability, while the spending review announcement that government housing funding has been cut has added to industry fears.

Home Builders Federation executive chairman Stewart Baseley said: “There is no doubt that the previous planning system was not succeeding in delivering enough homes – but housing delivery, crucial to solving the housing crisis, is not yet increasing and in many areas has actually fallen. These figures reveal the extent of the housing supply problem and the need for real action now – cutting red tape and implementing incentives so we can build the homes the country needs.”

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