Glenigan's latest Housing Pipeline report has shown that 2,456 sites received permission during Q2 this year - a 10% decrease against the previous and 20% down on a year ago.
The number of homes approved during Q2 2023 also dropped 16% on the previous quarter to 62,681, reflecting a 13% slide against Q2 2022. According to the data, this is the lowest quarterly number of permissioned homes since 2015, leaving aside Q2 2020 which was impacted by Covid shutdowns.
HBF said the figures confirmed industry warnings that new housing supply could fall to “record low levels” in the coming years as housebuilders experience “an anti-development policy environment” and further economic upheavals. It added that the industry was exhibiting a “far reduced” investment appetite with the uncertain planning environment as another factor.
During the first half of 2023, the number of new homes and sites granted permission fell 19% year-on-year, the latest Pipeline figures show. HBF said this could potentially lead to a reduction in the delivery of 44,000 homes yearly, meaning a ten-year low for England’s net housing supply.
These predictions follow HBF’s Planning for Economic and Social Failure report from March which warned that the government’s hostile approach to planning and nutrient neutrality could lead to housing numbers halving to around 120,000 homes a year.
HBF pointed to the government’s proposed planning reforms which would loosen requirements of local authorities. These plans, it said, had led to 60 councils to date suspending or withdrawing their local plans. It noted last week’s move to scrap nutrient neutrality rules but said the moratorium on development still remained across the 74 affected local authority areas.
And it highlighted the lack of government support for new build first-time buyers for the first time in decades. This follows the closure of the successful Help to Buy scheme, running for a decade.
On a regional basis, Yorkshire and the Humber saw the biggest decline in approvals in Q2 2023, down 54% from the previous quarter.
Stewart Baseley, HBF’s executive chairman, said: “Over recent years the policy environment has become increasingly anti-development and anti-business and as a direct result we are seeing a sharp fall in the number of homes being built.
"The government’s capitulation to the NIMBY lobby on planning, its mishandling of water legislation and amidst a lack of mortgage availability the lack of support for first-time buyers could see housing supply drop markedly in the coming years.
"Fewer homes being built amidst an acute housing crisis has clear social implications, in particular for young people, and will reduce economic activity and cost jobs.”