Planning permissions for 52,167 homes were granted in England during the first quarter of this year, a 19% increase on the 43,926 permissions in the corresponding quarter last year.
This means that the moving annual total has passed the 200,000 mark for the first time since early 2008.
The Housing Pipeline numbers are collated by Glenigan for the Home Builders Federation (HBF). Figures in the latest report show that 203,810 permissions were granted in the 12 months to April. This is the highest ‘four quarter’ total since early 2008. The number of permissions granted in Q1 was twice that in the corresponding quarter in both 2011 and 2012.
The report – which only measures permissions on sites of more than 10 units – also shows that the number of sites consented has been stable over the last 18 months, though at a higher level than previous four to five years.
Glenigan economics director Allan Wilén said: “Planning approvals remained firm during the first quarter, as private sector developers bring forward more and larger sites than a year ago. Glenigan expect the strengthening development pipeline to feed through to a rise in project starts during the second half of the year.”
HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley said: “Since the Help to Buy scheme was introduced in 2013, house-building activity has increased strongly. Private housing starts in 2014 were up nearly 40% on their pre-Help to Buy level in 2012. However we are still only building around half the number of new homes the country needs, and far fewer than in previous decades.
“One of the biggest constraints on the industry’s ability to meet the new level of demand and deliver further sustained increases in build rates is the planning process. How quickly we get more sites to the point where we can actually start to lay bricks will be a major influence on future house building levels.”