Housebuilding ‘on track to beat 2007 total’

File photo dated 28/02/12 of roof workers building new houses in Derbyshire
File photo dated 28/02/12 of roof workers building new houses in Derbyshire

Housebuilding activity is on track to grow to its best levels since 2007 this year, according to an industry body.

The National House Building Council (NHBC), a warranty and insurance provider, said the number of new homes being registered with it so far this year is 9% higher than a year ago.

In the year to the end of September, a total of 117,525 new-build homes were registered across the UK.

NHBC chief executive Mike Quinton told the Press Association that if current trends continue “we may well get to 160,000 registrations this year”.

This would be the highest total seen since 2007, he said, when just under 200,000 new homes were registered. The annual total nearly halved a year later as the financial downturn took hold.

In recent years, the figure has been increasing, and the NHBC registered around 146,000 new homes in 2014.

The NHBC said the recovery is widespread, with 10 out of 12 regions across the UK seeing year-on-year growth in the number of new homes being registered.

In London, the number of new builds being registered is down 5% on 2014, but in Scotland registrations are up by 19% on a year ago and in Wales they have increased by 23%. Northern Ireland has also recorded strong growth, with a 42% increase.

Looking to 2016, Mr Quinton said he expects the housebuilding recovery to continue amid growing industry and consumer confidence.

The body’s registration figures are taken from builders who are responsible for around 80% of homes constructed in the UK.

Builders are required to register a house with the NHBC before starting work, which means its figures represent homes that are to be built in the months ahead.

As the recovery continues, the NHBC said the industry still faces challenges from skills shortages and the availability of staff such as site managers.

The findings were released as new figures from the Land Registry showed house prices across England and Wales have increased by 5.3% over the year to September, taking the average property value to £186,553.

Several areas of southern England have seen house prices jump double digits year-on-year, with property values increasing annually by 15.3% in Reading, 11.8% in Hertfordshire, 14.1% in Luton and by 12.1% in Slough.

In London, house prices were 9.6% higher in September than they were a year earlier, at £499,997 on average, the Land Registry said.

Here are the numbers of new homes registered across the UK with the NHBC in the first nine months of 2015, and the percentage change compared with the same period a year earlier:

:: North East England, 3,972, 2%.

:: Yorkshire and the Humber, 5,780, minus 10%.

:: East Midlands, 10,148, 9%.

:: Eastern England, 12,336, 23%.

:: London, 19,883, minus 5%.

:: South East, 16,113, 0.5%.

:: South West, 11,993, 15%.

:: West Midlands, 10,802, 14%.

:: Wales, 3,838, 23%.

:: Northern Ireland, 2,580, 42%.

:: North West England, 10,343, 21%.

:: Scotland, 9,737,19%.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “It’s great news that we’ve got Britain building again with new homes up by 9% on this time last year.”