UK House Building On Course For Record Numbers Having Shrugged Off Covid

Unsurprisingly, mid-2020 saw a sharp decline in house building with both starts and completions plummeting to well under 20,000 units in Q2 from the recent trend of 45,000.

However, the latest data from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government demonstrates a super-strong return to form with 46,950 new homes completed between October and December 2020 – up 6% on the same period the year before and up 4% on the previous quarter.

Completions are just 3% off their peak in March 2007 and 87% above the worst period we’ve seen in recent years, March 2013.

Q4 2020 new builds are now at their highest quarterly volume since March 2007.

Founder and Managing Director of BuildScan, Harry Yates, commented: “Activity in the new homes sector is heightened and the numbers from MHCLG are beginning to show the appetite that housebuilders have for delivering new homes currently.

“Far from being put off by the pandemic they are circling their wagons and beginning a concerted drive to provide the new homes that the country needs.

“We may well see in excess of 250,000 new builds completed in 2021 for the first time since the 1970s and this will provide a solid foundation in reaching the Government’s aspirations of 300,000 new-builds built each year.

“The caveat of course is quality and property developers must ensure that this isn’t compromised at the expense of homebuyers as they deliver volume at scale.”

James Forrester, Managing Director of property developer StripeHomes commented: “The latest market data on housing delivery is quite remarkable when you consider that the country was in enforced hibernation for a large part of the year. With construction restrictions easing earlier than most, the sector was able to roll up its sleeves and build an impressive level of new build homes during the final quarter of 2020.

“This was no doubt driven by the rapidly returning health of the wider market, spurred by the stamp duty holiday, boosting confidence amongst builders that there was an appetite for homes should they be able to deliver them.

“With the holiday remaining in place for much of 2021 and keeping buyer demand high, it could well be the best year for housebuilding that Britain has seen since the 1950s.”