Source: The Guardian
New home registrations in Britain have reached their highest level in more than a decade, boosted by a number of large developments in London, according to an industry body.
But the National House Building Council (NHBC), which released the figures, also warned of caution in the industry until the economic impact of Brexit becomes clearer.
The NHBC said 43,578 new homes were registered between July and September, up 15% from the same period a year earlier. It is the highest total since the third quarter of 2007, when 49,520 new homes were registered just before the start of the global financial crisis.
The figures are taken from builders responsible for around 80% of homes constructed in the UK. Builders are required to register houses with the NHBC, the main warranty and insurance provider in the UK, before starting work.
The private sector accounted for 33,520 new homes, up 16%, with another 10,058 homes in the affordable sector, up 12%.
New home registrations in London increased 141% to 6,007 from 2,492 a year earlier, an unusually low number following the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017.
Housing associations are involved in a number of big London developments, including Swan Housing Association’s £300m project in Poplar with 1,500 planned homes, half of which are slated as affordable.
Developer Countryside Properties and London & Quadrant (L&Q) Housing Trust have teamed up to redevelop the former Ford factory site in Dagenham with up to 3,000 homes, half of them affordable. Housing associations also play a big part in the north-west of England, where L&Q has gone into partnership with Trafford Housing Trust in Manchester.
There was a further boost from build-to-rent projects, including Delancey’s Elephant & Castle revamp with 374 rental flats.
Seven of the UK’s 12 regions recorded growth, led by London, Yorkshire and the Humber up 39%, the south-west up 34% and Scotland up 20%.
Housebuilding has recovered since the lows during the financial crisis to more than 217,000 homes in England in the 2016-17 financial year, according to official figures.
The government’s target is 300,000 new homes a year by 2022, but the majority of housebuilders think it will be missed by at least 50,000, a Knight Frank survey has shown.
Steve Wood, NHBC’s chief executive, said: “The upturn in registrations over recent months is good news for the industry and shows that there remains a strong demand for high quality new homes in many parts of the UK.”
But he added: “The industry remains cautious in the short-run until the economic impact of Brexit is clearer.”
The property firm Jones Lang LaSalle predicted a swift recovery in house prices from the second half of next year.
Despite the deadlocked negotiations between London and Brussels, JLL believes there is a 90% chance of a Brexit deal being reached, and that prices will rise quickly thereafter, starting in London and southern England, where some areas have recorded sharp declines in recent months.
The firm predicts 11.4% growth in house prices across the UK over the next five years. In prime central London areas, prices are forecast to grow 15% between 2019 and 2023.