Barratt has resumed its pre-eminent position as most active volume housebuilder in terms of developing land through the planning system.
According to Glenigan’s research, there was a 65% rise in the number of units included in detailed planning applications made by Barratt last year compared 2015.
There were also big rises in the units in the planning pipeline at other major housebuilders, including Persimmon (up 49%), Redrow (up 114%), Bloor (up 72%) and Keepmoat (up 61%).
Glenigan’s economics director Allan Wilen said: “This expansion in planning should not come as a surprise. Housebuilders’ profit margins are likely to come under pressure through increases in the price of raw materials and, depending on the outcome of Brexit, potentially through lack of labour.
“Margins are already rising at a slower level as housebuilders build out land bought more recently and developing their strategic landbanks will help big companies maintain profit levels.”
Barratt had applied to build more homes through the planning system than any other housebuilder since the inception of Glenigan’s research in 2004 right up to 2013 when Taylor Wimpey took and held onto the top spot for two years before being toppled by Persimmon.
With Barratt’s planning programme surging last year, the firm returns to pole position as Persimmon drops to the second spot with Taylor Wimpey in third place.
Redrow moves up to fourth place after the group’s planning pipeline more than doubled in 2016 according to Glenigan. In contrast, Galliford Try drops out of the top 10 after planning activity slowed in the wake of an ambitious three-year expansion plan ending in 2013/14.
While Galliford Try is clearly not aiming to grow completions at the rate of some of the other larger volume housebuilders, the group’s planning pipeline still expanded by 21% last year, illustrating the level of underlying confidence level even amongst even the more cautious players.
Outside of the top 15, there are also big rises at some of the industry’s medium-sized players, such as Gleeson, whose 2016 planning programme included 1,147 units and London-centric apartment developer Fairview, which applied to build 1,321 units – of which 91% were apartments.
A third of the homes in Countryside’s planning pipeline were also apartments, but the company planning the largest number of private sector flats according to Glenigan’s research was Barratt.
The number of flats in Barratt’s pipeline surged by 244% in 2016 against the previous year, whereas the rise in units classed as housing rose 49%. However, flats still only comprise 17% of the units in Barratt’s 2016 planning pipeline.