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236,000 approved homes a year evaporating into developer land banks

Recent data from the ONS has highlighted that the number of new homes being started fell 8% in Q1 2019 and by 2% year on year, while the property market continues to strain under the supply-demand imbalance.

However, estate agency comparison site, GetAgent.co.uk, looked at the ONS data on the number of planning applications and approvals over the last eight years and found that there has been a steady increase in the number of applications granted as a percentage of all applications, up from 73.5% in 2010 to 80.5% now.

This rise in approved planning applications is despite slower market conditions seeing a notable drop in the number of applications received during 2018, down 4% from an eight-year average of 471,000 to 453,000.

But the firm says that developer land banking seems to remain prevalent and continues to put a squeeze on much-needed housing supply. Since 2010, an average of just 35% of planning applications a year were actually built and while this increased to 42% in 2018, that’s still 58% of planning approvals being land banked by developers like Persimmon, Bellway, Bovis and Wimpey for a rainy day.  

Had these housebuilders delivered on every planning application granted since 2010, they could have delivered an additional 236,170 new homes on average every year, the firm concluded.

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