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Help To Buy Drives Up New Home Permission Figures

Demand for new homes has been driven even higher in the UK by the Help to Buy scheme. As a result, planning permissions granted in the year to June was the highest for a 12 month period since 2006.

According to the Home Builders Federation (HBF), there is a strong correlation between the planning permissions that are granted today and the homes that are completed in two or three years. The new home figures suggest builder confidence as first-time buyers continue using Help to Buy to get a foot on the property ladder.

The housing industry is urging the UK government to specify the future of Help to Buy beyond 2021, when it is set to expire. The scheme has helped the new build sector and first-time buyers progress despite the generally slower housing market.

The HBF has published a report, Stepping Up, which shows that Help to Buy now accounts for one in 12 of all buyers getting on the property ladder and is driving investment in new sites. The number of homes built each year supports over 170,000 jobs, and new housing supply has gone up by 50% since the scheme was introduced.

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A strong supply of planning permissions is essential if build out rates are to increase. Whilst the number of permissions is at a high, concerns remain over how long it will take for many of these permissions to reach the stage where they can actually be built. In some instances it can take three to four years.

There are also concerns that whilst permission numbers being granted is rising, the number of sites being worked on is dropping, which suggests that more larger sites are being allocated. There needs to be a variety of site sizes, so the industry is encouraging local authorities to allocate smaller site sizes that would help smaller builders and increase the number of homes being built.

Stepping Up also highlights the other economic benefits of Help to Buy. Nearly 40,000 homes were delivered in the year to April, supporting 170,000 jobs and generating £51m in Council Tax and £63m in educational spending.

Stewart Baseley, Home Builders Federation Executive Chairman, said that the record new home figures reflect the commitment of housebuilders to increasing the output of needed housing. There has been a 50% growth in output during the last three years, and while mortgage availability has improved since 2013, without Help to Buy, first-time homebuyers would be struggling to put a deposit together.

Mr Baseley said that confirmation from the government is needed as to the future of Help to Buy  after 2021. The proposals to improve the planning system referenced in the White Paper also needs to be moved forward and implemented.

Allan Wilen, Economics Director for Glenigan, said that the number of new homes receiving planning permission during the first half of this year was up 22% compared to the same time last year, demonstrating that housebuilder confidence about market prospects  are in an excellent position to meet the demand for new housing.

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