Optimism is returning to the house building market, with dozens of developers in the North West planning to start developments in the next six months, according to a survey of clients and contacts by Mosaic Town Planning.
Mosaic interviewed 59 professionals, half of them developers, as well as architects, suppliers and other consultants.
Twenty four respondents said they planned to start new schemes in the next six months. The size of developments ranged from 2 to 1,000 with most between 20 and 60, reflecting the underlying caution and move away from apartments.
Paul Williams, director of Mosaic, based in Manchester, continued: "It is clear that levels of confidence have stabilised, and a significant number, 38%, expect an improvement over the next six months. Fewer than 8% expect a deterioration.
"The lack of development finance for implementation is perceived to be the overwhelming obstacle to additional development occurring, identified by 77% of respondents. Whilst planning gets off lightly in comparison, 40% identified delays in the application process and over one third highlighted restrictive planning policies.
"Most of the developers that responded have sought reductions in Section 106 or other contributions in order to make developments viable. Opinions were evenly split on whether local authorities are adopting a more flexible approach, with a small majority supporting the proposition."
There appears on the face of it to be an improving picture on the job front, too, with 32% of respondents saying they will increase their staff levels, compared to 7% decrease over the next six months. The number of staff being hired or made redundant was not disclosed. More than 50% said they envisaged no change in headcount.