Public Sector House Building Leads the Way

New data from the National House Building Council shows that 34,239 houses were registered for the quarter from the start February to the end of April, a three per cent increase on the same period last year.
April alone was particularly strong, with 11,912 up four per cent on a year earlier.

But look beyond the headlines and, perhaps surprisingly, the bulk of the new build increase is in the social sector, not from private house builders.

So while private sector registrations in the February to end-of-April period increased by a modest two per cent compared with the same period last year, social housing registrations increased by seven per cent.

This increase comes despite a widespread belief that the social housing sector is not delivering in terms of new house-building.

There is now a review into the social housing new build sector led by Natalie Elphicke, chair of the ‘Million Homes, Million Lives’ campaign, and Keith House, leader of Eastleigh council.

This review will assess if councils are making sufficient use of their existing powers to deliver new social housing. For instance, some analysts say councils could use their property portfolio more effectively to finance housebuilding by selling expensive vacant properties and using the receipts to build new affordable homes – the review will examine this possibility.

The review will also consider how councils can work more closely with housing associations, housebuilders and businesses. The consultation period for the so-called Elphicke review closed a few days ago, and a final report is expected before the end of the year.