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Fall in New Home Registrations But Can Planning Law Revive The High St?

Covid-19 caused the number of new homes registered to be built by UK housebuilders to fall by 23% in 2020, according to new figures released by NHBC. However, productivity moved close to pre-pandemic levels in the final quarter of the year with new home registrations down just 2% on the same period in 2019.

NHBC registered a total of 123,151 new homes in 2020, compared to 160,319 in 2019. The largest falls were seen in the second quarter of 2020 as the initial lockdown halted work on site. Housebuilding activity rebounded quickly after builders established Covid-secure working practices in the summer, with a total of 39,749 new homes being registered in the final quarter, 34% up on Q3.

The numbers of new home registrations fell in every UK region in 2020, with the South East of England (-28%), Scotland (-28%) and Northern Ireland (-38%) seeing the most significant falls, whilst London was down 21%. The data indicates that many UK cities saw greater falls in new home registrations than their wider regions with, for example, Manchester dropping 42% in 2020 versus 2019, compared with just 27% in the whole of the North West. London and Glasgow were the only major cities to buck this trend.

New home registrations in the private sector fell by 26% to 81,067, with the affordable and build to rent sector seeing a more limited fall of 16% to 42,084, compared to the previous year.

Commenting on the 2020 new home registration statistics, NHBC chief executive Steve Wood said: “Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, the new-build housing market has held up very well, with housebuilders showing resilience and adaptability throughout 2020.

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