More than 160,000 new homes were registered to be built in the UK last year, an increase of 6% on 2016 according to NHBC’s latest new home statistics.
160,606 homes were registered throughout the course of 2017, up from the 152,017 the previous year and the highest since the pre-recession levels of a decade ago.
The private sector grew by 3% with 118,825 new homes registered, with the affordable sector increasing by 14% to 41,781 – the highest yearly total for the sector since NHBC electronic records began 30 years ago. However, this was largely driven by the private rented sector.
New home completions also increased by 4% from 141,685 in 2016 to 147,278 last year. Nine out of 12 UK regions experienced an increase in registrations, with the East Midlands, Wales and North West among the areas which saw noticeable growth. Only one UK region saw a decline in registrations, the South West, but this follows a fairly high registration rate in 2016.
Figures for London showed the rate of new homes being registered was slightly up on 2016, with 17,850 units compared to 17,587 the previous year, the first increase year-on-year in the capital since 2014. However, the fourth quarter of the year saw a 38% increase in registrations compared to Q4 2016, suggesting an increase in housebuilding confidence in the capital.
Commenting on the new home registrations statistics for 2017, NHBC Chief Executive Steve Wood said: “Our figures show the market has delivered strong growth resulting in the highest new home figures for a decade and growth across the majority of the UK, including London for the first time since 2014.
“Looking ahead, NHBC will continue to work with the industry to help raise the standards of new homes. With 6% growth in the quantity of new home registrations, the focus on delivering quality for consumers remains critical.”
Looking towards the future, Steve Wood has noted the likely increase in foreign investment in the construction sector, particularly from countries such as Japan who are already advanced in Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) such as volumetric systems. We may see an increase in these new ‘players on the pitch’, either as contractors, in joint ventures with UK companies, or as developers. New methods of construction, which are less labour intensive, may enable the UK to increase housing output as skills shortages continue to put pressure on the sector.