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Blocked pipeline threatens housing supply

The implications of this collapse in permissions are stark and threaten to exacerbate an already acute housing crisis. Currently the country has a housing shortfall estimated to be a million homes, and last year saw the lowest number built since 1923.

Permissions granted for homes typically take up to three years to build. So the implications of this drop will not be felt for some time. However, with household formation projections showing the need for the country to build around 232,000 homes a year until 2033, and 2009’s total at just 118,000 – there is obvious potential for the crisis to deepen.

The New Housing Pipeline report shows that through 2010 there has been a steady fall in permissions granted to developers for new homes, with a drop in England from over 40,000 in Q1 to just over 30,000 in Q3. This drop coincides with radical changes to the planning system by the new Government, and a shift from the old top down targets to a new localism based approach that hands more power to Local Authorities.

HBF Executive Chairman Stewart Baseley said.

"The report paints a bleak picture and shows how permissions, the lifeblood of housing supply, have plummeted. We already have an acute housing crisis and these figures show there is potential for it to get much worse. The social and economic implications of this would be a disaster for the country.

"The Government cannot afford to let confusion over planning policy reduce further the number of permissions given. Whilst the policy vacuum of the past few months is now being filled, it is vital Government gets on and implements its new policies. It must ensure Local Authorities accept responsibility and the power they have been given. It is crucial Councils recognise the housing shortage, understand the new system and appreciate the Govt’s incentives and allow developers to build the homes their residents and the country desperately need.”

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