New homes in 2018: what was built, and where?
How many new homes are being built? And what types of homes? New figures released by NHBC – who insure 80% of new homes in the UK – give us a good idea.
The top line
2018 has been a year of treading water. 159,617 new homes were registered: pretty much the same as in 2017 and a fraction above the long-term average. 26% of those were affordable. 149,480 homes were completed in 2018, again much the same as 2017.
Regionally there’s some variation. Registrations dropped by 10% in London, East Midlands and West Midlands, but were up 20% in Yorkshire and Humberside, 7% in North West and an impressive 39% in Northern Ireland. Completions dropped 14% in London, but ticked up by 3-6% in the rest of the country.
The split between private sector and affordable sector registrations didn’t shift either: 2018 saw a one percent drop in the private sector and no change with affordable.
Looking over the longer term, new home registrations were broadly stable from 1993 to 2007. They fell off a cliff during the crash and have been slowly growing since . But the fast growth of 2009-2015 has stalled, leaving the numbers well below pre-crash levels.
UK house types
Despite a lot of ups and downs in the demand for detached homes and apartments, the thirty year trend is one of semis replacing bungalows, with little change elsewhere. The strange death of the British bungalow is much remarked on: few housing scheme consultations pass without a request for more of them. But so far the market appears not to have come to its rescue. People like bungalows, but perhaps not enough to pay the premium needed to make them viable.
With councils under pressure to deliver new homes on a scale not seen for decades, securing buy-in for schemes from politicians, the public and house-builders has never been more important. Asking people to think about housing type and tenure is a good way to encourage engagement. Consulting on what they would like see, and what they would like to buy, doesn’t guarantee agreement but helps shift opinion away from outright opposition. That can make a big difference in getting approval for contentious schemes.
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