Increase in Number of New Homes in 2014
There are further signs of recovery in the housing market with the release of the latest new housing-start figures for 2014. These show a significant rise in the number of new properties being built across the year, enabling more people to get on to the property ladder.
The information from the Department of Communities and Local Government shows that 137,000 properties were started last year. This was an increase of 10% compared with the 2013 figures. The number of homes that were actually completed throughout the year also increased - it was up 8% to 118,760.
One of the key initiatives from the government, the Help to Buy scheme, has been responsible for a large part of this success. Since the start of the programme, more than 200,000 properties have been built. The scheme itself has enabled more than 77,000 homeowners to purchase a new property.
Supply Issues Remain
These are promising figures for the industry, but they are still well below what is required to resolve the UK’s housing problem. Last year’s figures were the highest we have seen since 2007, when the industry was at its peak. However the figures for housing starts remain 25% below the level reached in 2007.
More Support Needed
The industry believes that more incentives are required to help rectify this situation and encourage more developers to build. There are now over 100,000 additional people employed in the housing industry, according to the Home Builders' Federation. This is giving the economy a much-needed boost, but the Federation still believes this isn’t enough. They see that there is still more that can be done to encourage further development.
One of the key issues that developers have is navigating the planning permission system, which can be long and complex. By looking at incentives to make it cheaper and easier to start building, there could be a further rise in the number of new properties being started and completed.
There are already some changes under way in this area, with reforms that allow local residents more of a say in development plans. This has provided more support for building in local areas and encouraged developers.
These latest figures are another sign of success for the housing industry. The market is set to perform well throughout the rest of 2015, which will impact on many areas of the economy - from Leeds fabricators installing balconies to the major property developers.