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A strong rise in planning approvals during the closing months of 2015 bodes well for housebuilding activity during the current year. The latest Glenigan/HBF Housing Pipeline report number of units approved during the final quarter of 2015 was 20% up on both the third quarter and a year ago. The rise, primarily driven by a an increase in the number of private housing units approved, lifted the number of units approved during 2015 as a whole to 281,000, a 5% rise on the previous year.

At 2,778, the number of private sector housing projects (schemes of 3 or more units) securing approval during the fourth quarter was 10% up on both the preceding quarter and a year earlier. However the number of units granted planning permission on private sector projects was 13% up on the preceding quarter and 27% higher than a year earlier.

The expanded development pipeline will help housebuilders to meet any strengthening in demand from house buyers. Furthermore the rise marked rise in approvals in the Midlands and North of England last year demonstrates that the recovery in housing market activity is becoming more established across the country.   

In contrast the number of social housing projects (of three or more units) remained weak in the fourth quarter, being 1% down on the previous quarter and 7% lower than a year ago. The number of social housing units approved during 2015 Q4 was 11% lower than in the previous quarter, but remained 17% up on a year earlier. 

Residential planning approvals (Great Britain) graph

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