Second Quarter NHBC statistics show continued growth for housebuilding sector

On Wednesday 29 July, NHBC announced their Q2 housing registration statistics. These statistics cover 80 per cent plus of the market, making them the leading indicator of activity.

  Second Quarter NHBC statistics show continued growth for housebuilding sector

The main headlines for Q2 were that housebuilding continues to steadily climb; figures were up 12 per cent on Q2 2014 with a total of 41,268 registrations – meaning six consecutive quarters of growth reported by the NHBC. The statistics also showed that, while private registrations continue to dominate the market – a total of 30,462 registrations were recorded in the private, sector, up I I per cent on 2014 – public registrations saw the bigger climb on last year, with I 0,806 registrations, an increase of l3 per cent.

However, the most notable headline was the increase in registered retirement properties. So far in 2015, 2,337 retirement properties have been registered – a figure that beats registrations for the whole of 2014, which totalled at 1,919.

While these figures are positive, McCarthy & Stone’s Group Operations Director Mike Jennings explained why the company believe a lack of retirement properties is something the government needs to address.

He explained:

“As the UK’s leading retirement house builder we are encouraged to see a growing number of retirement property registrations. In the  first six months of 2015 we have registered 1,850 new retirement apartments with the NHBC and we will be investing.€2 billion in land and build over the next four years, which will deliver around 12,000 new retirement properties.”

“However, while we welcome the government work to get the housebuilding sector building again, more has to be done to address the needs of later life buyers. There is a chronic undersupply of specialist retirement housing in the UK. ‘We would like to see a national strategy for retirement housing and stronger government policies to support its provision.” An increasing number of buyers are aged over 55, coinciding with the UK’s growing population.

Figures show 58 per cent of home owners aged over 60 would like to move home but the lack of suitable housing restricts them – 3.5 million people are interested in buying a retirement property, but only 128,000 have been built for ownership to date. It is also estimated {400billion is tied up in homes of those who want to downsize but cannot. While fully supporting the help offered to first-time buyers, McCarthy & Stone feel the government should look beyond this market.

Currently, it is predicted that by 2026 there will be l0 million empty bedrooms in the homes of the retired. Supplying more suitable retirement properties for downsizers would in turn help first-time buyers and young families by freeing more family-sized properties.

Retirement property numbers are increasing and government support is growing – the NPPF National Planning Practice Guidance describes the need as ‘critical’ and government backing is increasing – but McCarthy & Stone believe more needs to be done. As well as a national retirement housing strategy, the company suggests other possible solutions such as more support at a local planning authority level, encouraging new providers into the sector and exempting older people downsizing from paying Stamp Duty. Overall, the figures presented by NHBC predict a total number of registrations exceeding 160,000 for 2015 – a definite positive, but is it enough?

NHBC Chief Executive, Mike Quinton, believes it is not. It is a long way off the government’s recommended 250,000 properties a year needed in order to beat the housing crisis. Nevertheless, amidst fears that the market may have started to show signs of slowing down, it is clear the right moves are being made and housebuilding is heading in the right direction.


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