New figures show that planning permission was granted in principle for more than 195,000 new homes in England in 2014, up 12% on 2013 and up 39% on 2012.
The number of permissions for private sector homes was up 23%.
As we reported last month, the number of starts on new homes rose 10% in 2014 to more than 137,000. The total was 36% on 2012 and 59% on the trough in 2009. (See our previous report here.)
Data in the latest Home Builders Federation/Glenigan Housing Pipeline show that more permissions were granted in 2014 that in any year since 2008. It also shows that the number of sites getting permission continues to trend upwards and the increase is geographically evenly spread. In the final quarter of 2014 approvals leapt by 20%
Glenigan estimates that a further 150,000 plots are at ‘outline permission’ stage, waiting full sign off by local authorities.
Home Builders Federation executive chairman Stewart Baseley said: “Over the past 18 months, demand for new homes, largely driven by the Help to Buy equity loan scheme has increased markedly. House-builders have responded by significantly increasing house building activity.
“We are still only building around half the number of new homes the country needs. Getting the required number of permissions, in a timely manner, is absolutely key to the industry’s ability to deliver. In addition more needs to be done to speed up the plots that are awaiting final approval to allow construction to commence.
“These figures are a barometer on potential future build rates. But to turn them into actual construction sites requires local authorities to process them in a timely fashion to the stage when builders can build.
“If we are to meet housing demand it is imperative that the planning system continues to evolve such that it delivers planning permissions at the rate required to address our housing crisis.
“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.”