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The number of planning permissions granted for new homes in Q1 of this year remained high, HBF and Glenigan’s latest Housing Pipeline report shows. Permissions for 66,102 homes were granted in the first three months of the year in England, up 4% on the previous year, driven by an increase in the number of private housing units approved.  The Moving Annual Total has now recovered to just short of the pre-crash peak in the 12 months to March 2008, and is ahead of the levels in 2006 and 2007. The firm development pipeline demonstrates that housebuilders are well placed to meet any strengthening in demand from house buyers.

Whilst many of these permissions may still have some way to go before builders can start building them, the figures are a strong indicator of potential future supply.

Permissions have risen steadily every year since 2009, with actual housing supply also increasing markedly over the past two years as more of the permissions have progressed to the point where builders can begin building. The last 12 months have seen a 66% increase in permissions granted on the nadir of the recession in 2009. Numbers are now only 0.3% below where they were at the highest point in early 2008.

Demand for new homes has also been strong. HBF estimates there is a shortfall of well over one million homes in England. Almost a third of young people (3.35m) are living at home with their parents and 1.24 million people are on housing waiting lists. The Help to Buy equity loan scheme has helped drive demand for new homes and interest rates remain historically low.

Over 180,000 new homes were added to the housing stock in 2014/15 – up 22% on the previous year - as house builders increased output in response to the rise in demand for new homes.

Residential planning approvals (Great Britain)

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