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industry news 7 HOME BUILDERS FEDERATION John Stewart D

Housebuilding recovery gathers momentum

espite the strong growth in housing output, we are still a long way from delivering the 230,000 homes a year

needed in England. The HBF is now urging the new government to prioritise policies to support the increases of recent quarters by giving greater certainty to the industry as it plans investment in land and labour. With build rates increasing and builders look-

ing to get onto new sites sooner, the government must also address the delays in the planning system so that permissions are processed more quickly, and ensure local authorities have suffi- cient resources and capacity to deal with the increasing volume of applications. Local author- ities must also accelerate the production of local plans, an essential element in a plan-led system. A recent survey suggested only a quarter of authorities outside London and the National Parks have put a plan in place since the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was intro- duced in 2012. The government also needs to give early atten-

tion to its various brownfield policies. The detailed design of these measures will be the key to further boosting housing delivery. Further assistance to get SME’s building again will be vital if the industry is to be able to deliver the vol- ume of homes required. Statistics released in May mirror figures

released in April by NHBC showing that more than 40,000 new homes were registered in the UK during the first three months of the year, up 18 per cent on the same period last year, with a


Help to Buy Equity Loan extended to 2020

government’s Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme it has been extended to 2020. The Chancellor, George Osborne said that the


government had committed £6 billion to extend- ing the equity loan initiative until ‘at least 2020’, to give developers certainty over the planning of future schemes and encouraging them to ‘con- tinue to boost housing supply’.

ollowing the Department for

Communities and Local Government reporting the continued success of the

He also confirmed the first annual allocation

of almost £1.5 billion for the scheme covering the 2016-17 period. The Help to Buy equity loan applies to new build properties priced up to £600,000. The Chancellor said that the equity loan

scheme, Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme and the government’s NewBuy scheme had helped ‘nearly 100,000 working people across the UK achieve their aspiration of buying a new or bigger home’.

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26 per cent rise in private sector registrations; with HBF’s Housing Pipeline reports also show- ing a steady rise in the number of planning permissions being granted in recent quarters. John Stewart, Director of Economic Affairs at

the Home Builders Federation said: “These fig- ures are yet another sign that the housebuilding industry is responding to more positive market conditions, along with the added boost from Help to Buy Equity Loan, to raise housing sup- ply. The last parliament saw the introduction of a range of positive policies that allowed supply to be increased. A combination of improving con- sumer confidence and the unequivocal success of the Help to Buy scheme has brought about an increase in the realisable demand for new homes, which in turn has allowed the industry to increase output. But despite these increases we are still a long way from delivering the number of homes the country needs. “Significant constraints remain, and if the

government is to deliver on its manifesto commitment to further increase build rates we now need to see more action. Maintaining the Help to Buy scheme to 2020 is absolutely essen- tial, as are policies to increase the speed at which land for housing comes forward through the planning system. Swift action by the new govern- ment will allow the industry to maintain momentum and provide decent homes for thou- sands more people. Increasing housebuilding will also create tens of thousands of jobs and lead to infrastructure and amenity improvements in every part of the country.”


Index, March 2015

per cent in the year to March 2015, up from 7.4 per cent in the year to February 2015. •House price annual inflation was 9.4 per cent in England, 5.7 per cent in Wales, 14.6 per cent in Scotland and 7.5 per cent in Northern Ireland. This is the highest annual increase in Scotland since July 2007.


•The pace of annual house price growth increased across the majority of the UK.

•Annual house price increases in England were driven by an annual increase in the East (11.4 per cent), London (11.2 per cent) and the South East (11.2 per cent).

•Excluding London and the South East, UK house prices increased by 8.1 per cent in the 12 months to March 2015.

•On a seasonally adjusted basis, average house prices increased by 1.1 per cent between February and March 2015.

• In March 2015, prices paid by first-time buyers were 7.8 per cent higher on average than in March 2014. For owner-occupiers (existing owners), prices increased by 10.3 per cent for the same period.

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he latest House Price Index figures released by ONS show: •UK house prices increased by 9.6

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