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New home approvals up 36%

18 Dec 12 Latest quarterly figures compiled by the Home Builders Federation show that approvals for 33,881 homes across England were granted in Q3 of this year, an increase of 36% on the previous quarter (24,872) and 17% on the same period last year (29,059).

The HBF welcomed the increase but said it was “still well short of the 60,000 per quarter needed to meet demand, or the 64,500 that were being granted on average during 2006/07”.

This is the second set of quarterly figures since the introduction of the national planning policy framework (NPPF) in April. Under the NPPF, local authorities are required to assess their housing need now and over the coming years and then allocate sufficient land to meet it.

The HBF said that some local authorities were abiding by the positive planning principles set out under the new system and developing robust housing plans, but some were not.

HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley said: “The increase is good news and hopefully a reflection of the positive planning principles of the new system. It is just one quarterly increase and we are still well short of the number needed but we hope it starts a trend that will continue in 2013.  

Allan Wilén, an economist with construction data firm Glenigan, added: “Private sector projects provided the main impetus behind the rise in third quarter planning approvals, offsetting the weakness seen during the previous three months. In addition, there was a surprising rebound in social housing projects. If maintained, the increasing number of projects securing planning approval will help developers to open up new sites and increase construction activity as market conditions progressively improve over the next two years.” 

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