New UK Housing: British Housebuilding

New British homes, England property trends, United Kingdom building insulation, Prime Minister, ONS House Price Index, Architect

New UK Housing: Housebuilding News

UK Residential Property Expansion + Housebuilding Issues: new home buyer searches data

post updated 1 October 2023

19 September 2023

Housebuilding inflation eases but pressures continue to mount on the housing sector, cautions BCIS.

Whilst property prices have dropped again, for the fifth consecutive month, the average British property is still worth £45,000 more than it was before the pandemic.

David Hannah, Chairman of Cornerstone Group International, discusses Britain’s property market inflation:

UK Housebuilding Inflation News

Annual housebuilding cost inflation continued to ease in 2Q 2023, according to new data published by the Building Cost Information Service (BCIS).

An update to the Private Housing Construction Price Index (PHCPI) shows annual growth of 6.5% in the second quarter, down from 9.7% in 1Q 2023.

Quarterly growth has also slowed, standing at 0.7% in 2Q 2023 compared with 1Q 2023. The last time quarterly growth was below 1% was 3Q2020 (0.4%).

In total 38% of PHCPI respondents pointed to an increase in subcontractor costs as the main driver of change in costs, and a quarter of respondents cited an increase in materials costs. For the third consecutive quarter, a small share of respondents reported a decrease in materials costs (6%).

Looking to 3Q 2023, the housebuilders surveyed said they expected to see an average 1% increase in costs.

Construction output figures, which have been declining since 4Q 2022, clearly demonstrate the continued pressure on the private housing sector.

In 2Q 2023, private new housing output was down 9.3% on the same quarter a year earlier.

There were decreases of 3.3%, 5.9% and 2.1% in quarterly growth in 2Q 2023, 1Q 2023 and 4Q 2022 respectively.

UK Housebuilding inflation:
UK Housebuilding Inflation
image source: BCIS, ONS

Against a backdrop of continued downturn in private housing output, BCIS forecasts the remainder of this year and the next to be just as challenging for the sector.

BCIS expects new private housing output to contract by 15.9% and 4.3% in 2023 and 2024 respectively, before returning to growth in 2025.

Chief data officer at BCIS, Karl Horton. said: “The pressures on the housing sector, both as a result of a drop in demand and in the cost of resources, are clear to see – from the latest house price indices, which continue to slide, to fewer mortgages being taken out.

“Big housebuilders continue to report decreasing demand. We’ve seen shares in Barratt drop after the firm reported falls in profit and volume, Berkeley Group said its reservations were down by more than a third, and Persimmon reported last month that their estimate for completions this year is significantly less than what they delivered in 2022.

“Further, we expect to see the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee increase the base rate this week, for the fifteenth time in a row. Continued interest rate increases will adversely impact housing affordability and heap more pressure on housebuilders.”

Cost impact of updated Building Regulations

BCIS continues to monitor the impact of updated Building Regulations on housebuilders’ costs. The estimated cost uplift for meeting Part L, as reported by housebuilders in 2Q 2023, stands at 2.8% – unchanged from the last quarter and down from 4.3% as reported in 2Q 2022.

Cost impact of updated UK Building Regulations:
Cost impact of updated UK Building Regulations
image source: BCIS PHCPI survey

More than a quarter of respondents reported a combination of Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs) and increased insulation as their chosen solution to meet the requirements of Part L, and one-fifth selected a combination of PV (photovoltaic) and increased insulation. Another fifth selected a combination of gas boilers, PV and insulation, whereas 13% noted a combination of gas boilers and PV. The remaining respondents were split equally, reporting ASHPs, ASHPs and PVs, and gas boilers, PV and ASHPs, as their chosen solutions.

If you are a housebuilder and would like to participate in the BCIS PHCPI quarterly survey, please contact [email protected]

For more information about BCIS, visit the website at

About BCIS:
The Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) is the leading independent provider of construction data to the built environment and insurance sectors. For some 60 years, BCIS has been collecting, collating, analysing, modelling and interpreting cost information to support built environment professionals, helping them provide cost advice, to have confidence in commercial decision-making and to mitigate risk.

post updated 9 August 2023

UK property market expert explains why Britain’s housing market remains resilient

Whilst property prices have dropped for the fourth consecutive month, the average property is still worth £45,000 more than it was before the pandemic.

The Chairman of Cornerstone Group International discusses why he believes Britain’s property market will avoid a crash:

UK housing market price drop

Recent findings from mortgage lender Halifax have revealed that house prices in July had fallen by 0.3%, consequently fuelling speculation that Britain’s housing market will crash in the second half of the year. Despite the doom and gloom from experts, the average property in the UK is still worth £45,000 more than it was before the pandemic. In light of this, Group Chairman of Cornerstone Tax International, David Hannah, discusses why he remains confident in Britain’s property market.

The cost of the average home is now 2.4% lower than it was a year ago in a period that has seen the Bank of England raise interest rates from 1.25% to 5.25%. Despite the difficult rise in the cost of living, Hannah points out that prices have changed little in nominal terms over the past six months and the market and buyers are responding to sharply higher borrowing costs in a predictablemanner. According to Halifax, buyers are opting for smaller properties that they can still afford, fuelling continued activity.

Hannah additionally highlights that factors beyond the scope of the property market are contributing to counteract the idea of a market crash. Notably, robust wage growth, which is maintaining a nearly 7% annual increase. Although the slight increase in unemployment might temper this progress to some extent, it appears unlikely to escalate to levels that could instigate a sudden decline in market conditions.

David Hannah, Chairman at Cornerstone Group International, discusses the effect of rising rates on the property market:

“While there was a marginal decline of 0.3% in house prices for July, it does not mean the market is hurtling towards a dramatic crash. The average UK property continues to hold its ground, reflecting a substantial increase of £45,000 since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

“Amidst the backdrop of economic shifts and fluctuations in interest rates, it’s important to consider the broader context. A 2.4% decrease from the previous year may seem notable, but it’s worth recognising that the interest rates climbed from 1.25% to 5.25%.

“We are seeing continued market growth due to buyers sensibly adjusting their expectations on the size of properties that they can afford to purchase. Nevertheless, certain lenders are reducing mortgage expenses in response to the approaching peak of the bank rate. This suggests that although market sentiment may remain restrained, I hold the belief that the second half of this year will witness an improvement.”

Previously on e-architect:

20 July 2023

Britain’s housing market may still avoid slump due to bigger than expected fall in inflation

The fall in inflation to 7.9% has caused financial markets to no longer expect a sharp increase in interest rates.

David Hannah, Chairman of Cornerstone Group International, UK property tax experts, discusses his predictions for the UK’s housing market:

UK housing market predictions

Market analysts today have stated that Britain’s housing market will avoid a slump, despite a zero-price growth, due to the bigger than expected fall in inflation. The National Office of Statistics (ONS) reported yesterday that inflation had fallen to 7.9%, down from 8.7% in May, now causing analysts to believe that the Bank of England’s future interest hike will not be as severe as once predicted, with predictions of a slight increase of 0.25% rather than 1%. This will now offer the 1.4 million Brits coming to the end of their fixed rate mortgages, a small relief that interest rates mortgages will not see another significant rise. In light of this news, David Hannah, Group Chairman of Cornerstone Group International discusses his prediction for the UK’s housing market.

Recent data from Halifax showed that house prices throughout the UK witnessed their biggest annual fall since 2011. The average price of a home fell by 2.6% year on year last month and by 0.1% in June – the third consecutive monthly decline – now standing at £285,932 which is £8,000 lower than last August. A predominant factor driving the decrease in property prices is the lower level of demand caused by the Bank of England’s repeated interest rate rises, with the average two-year fixed mortgage rates now sitting above 6% according to Moneyfacts, whilst the average five-year fixed rate mortgage has increased to 5.67%.

In Q1 of 2023 forecasters predicted that the market would witness a decline in prices of up to 10% over the year in response to the rise in interest rates to 5%. However, Hannah remains confident that the market will not see such a drastic crash, this comes as the full in the consumer price index in June, will likely dissuade the BoE to further increase in the cost of borrowing.

David Hannah, Group Chairman of Cornerstone Group International, explains further:

“Unsurprisingly, the analysts’ calls for a 10% fall in the UK’s property market has yet come to fruition and the news that inflation has fallen, means there is even less chance of this happening. This unexpected outcome has shifted the financial markets’ outlook, eroding the belief that the Bank of England’s base rate would reach its projected peak of 6.5%.

“Looking ahead, we anticipate another positive response from financial markets when next month’s headline inflation reading is unveiled. This potential outcome opens up an opportunity for individuals planning to refinance their mortgages in the coming months. They may be able to secure more favourable mortgage rates compared to the current offerings.

“If this trend persists and is complemented by potential real wage growth, it could lead to significant changes in the housing market within the next six months. There might be a glimmer of hope for a rebound, painting a different picture for the housing market in the foreseeable future.”

Island Rest Isle of Wight Residence
Design: Strom Architects
Island Rest Isle of Wight property
photos by Nick Hufton, Al Crow

Previously on e-architect:

UK brownfield land for affordable MMC housing

UK Home Insulation News

18 Nov 2022

Reactiion to Autumn Statement from Dr Sukumar Natarajan, University of Bath

New targets to improve home energy efficiency must focus on long-term benefits, University of Bath expert in energy and design of environments says:

In today’s Autumn Statement, the United Kingdom Government proposed targets to cut energy consumption of homes and buildings by 15% by 2030.

Dr Sukumar Natarajan, Senior Lecturer in Architecture and Civil Engineering at the University of Bath and Deputy Director of the Centre for Energy and the Design of Environments (EDEn), said:

“If the Government is aiming to improve the energy efficiency of homes, they need to avoid mistakes we’ve made in the past. We’ve barely moved the needle on reducing energy consumption over the last 30 years. The problem is that even the historic investment in retrofitting was myopic as around two-thirds of homes were visited and insulated but not enough insulation was added.

“Retrofits are expensive and disruptive, so we need to make every visit count. We should not repeat the same mistake as before and end up leaving the problem to some other time.

“The potential benefits of a properly considered process to help homes reach, for example, the PassivHaus EnerPHit standard, could be substantial. For example, approximately £1 Billion is said to be spent by the NHS treating people for health conditions caused by cold homes. Much of this would be avoided by a retrofit strategy designed to solve a problem for 30 years and not just until 2030.”

Ghyll House, East Sussex Property
Design: Strom Architects
Ghyll House East Sussex
image : LB Visualisation

18 Nov 2022

Reactiion to Autumn Statement from HKS Architects

Comments to the UK Chancellor’s Autumn Statement from Angus Duguid, Regional Commercial Business Leader and Vice President of HKS Architects:

“It was widely anticipated the Autumn Statement would bring a landslide of capital spending cuts and we are pleased to see that this is not the case and there has in fact been a recommitment to large infrastructure projects including the New Hospital Programme.

It’s also positive to see a keen focus on energy efficiency. It’s now key to ensure funding is directed to make buildings more operationally efficient in terms of their energy usage. This is no mean feat due to the age of much of the UK’s building stock. But it is really is in the government’s interests when it comes to public buildings such as schools and hospitals – as it will reduce the day to day running costs, ultimately benefitting the public purse as well as the environment.”

18 Nov 2022

UK Government insulation program can’t be implemented with current workforce, says architect

Félicie Krikler, director at Assael Architecture, said: “A decade of low levels of insulation installation rates means that energy efficient retrofit of homes needs a boost and today’s promise of funding is a sizeable step in the right direction. However, how can we really afford to delay this until 2025 to address our housing stock’s poor energy efficiency?

In the meantime, cash absolutely needs to be injected into up-skilling and increasing our workforce to make this a success. In 2012, ONS data shows there were just 12,000 vacancies in the construction sector, while today that number hovers near 50,000. A retrofit revolution would cut bills and carbon emissions for households across the country but this can only be achieved if the government solves the skills crisis.

We need funding for developers, architects and builders who are investing in the next generation of workers in the ongoing drive to decarbonise the built environment. The industry also needs to redouble efforts to attract new entrants to the construction sector and offer a greater variety of pathways.”

18 Nov 2022

RICS Comment on UK Government Autumn Statement 2022

“RICS is pleased that the UK Government announced its commitment to energy efficiency and decarbonisation in the Autumn Statement keeping to its promise to reduce final energy consumption from buildings and industry by 15% by 2030. RICS welcomes the announced £6.6 billion investment in energy efficiency for this parliament and a further £6 billion annually committed from 2025. We hope this funding can reach projects as soon as possible.

“Energy costs greatly impact prices throughout the economy, particularly the building sector. Establishing efficient use and low-cost energy production is vital for economic recovery, and this recognition is clear in the statement.

“RICS looks forward to working in partnership with the new Energy Efficiency Taskforce (EETF) and advising it on our recommendations which include radical reforms to the EPC system and the means to track carbon output throughout the built environment.”

Previously on e-architect:

300,000 New UK Homes

30 Oct 2022
Michael Gove commits to 300,000 homes target

UK Housing Secretary Michael Gove has said the government is still committed to a manifesto pledge of building 300,000 homes every year by the mid-2020s, reports the BBC today.

Former PM Liz Truss had thrown doubt on the aim, saying she wanted to scrap “Stalinist” housing targets.

But Michael Gove – who returned to cabinet after Liz Truss’s resignation – told the BBC he wanted to build more homes, both for ownership and to rent.

He added that new developments should have the consent of local communities.

The minister also warned meeting the target would be “difficult” due to the economic circumstances.

“We need to be straight with people: the cost of materials has increased because of the problems with global supply chains and also a very tight labour market means that the capacity to build those homes at the rate we want is constrained,” he said.

post updated 20 October 2022

UK Housing Market – New Prime Minister

20 Oct 2022
Russell Pedley, founder and director, Assael, unpacks the outgoing PM’s impact on private renters and housing in general:

“Liz Truss’ short tenure as PM will be remembered for many reasons, including its impact on housing. Moody’s research shows that thousands of buy-to-let landlords across the country will be driven out of the rental market due to rising interest rates, which have simultaneously pushed an even greater proportion of the nation’s housing stock out of reach of first-time buyers.

Private renters are being battered from all angles, including the cost of living crisis and declining rental stock, while the prospect of buying disappears for many. The incoming PM must act urgently to stabilise interest rates and boost housing supply.”

About Assael Architecture:

Assael is an award-winning, London-based practice that offers a cohesive suite of architecture, interior design and landscape architecture services to a range of developers, investors and local authorities. Established in 1994, Assael has over 25 years of experience in the design and delivery of successful residentially-led mixed-use schemes. They have become one of the leaders in the design of Build to Rent communities and have recently been using this expertise in the design of many co-living developments across London.

Notable buildings designed by Assael include Queen’s Wharf and Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, 21 Young Street in Kensington and Chelsea, Union Wharf in Greenwich, and Garratt Mills in Wandsworth.

5 September 2022
UK Housing Market and the New PM

Please see some comment from James Tucker, CEO at Twenty7Tec, on the hopes for a new PM.

James Tucker, founder and CEO of the UK’s most successful mortgage technology platform, Twenty7Tec, says:

“One thing that I hope that our new PM gets right is the stop treating the housing and mortgage sectors as unrelated industries. MHCLG and Treasury need more joined-up thinking on how they work together.

“There’s a lot of rhetoric about housebuilding, yet even the recent report by the Land Registry into house buying barely touches on the element that makes the market work: mortgages.

“In my view, the Government needs a fully functioning mortgage market in order to continue to deliver a healthy and vibrant housing market which contributes to the nation’s greater wealth.

“We’d love to have clear commitments in relation to how to support First Time Buyers, for example. Without First Time Buyers being able to access the market, then the rest of the chain is possibly overly reliant on Buy To Let landlords at the lower echelons.”

24 July 2022
Bracknell Town Centre Regeneration News, Berkshire, Southern England, UK
Eagle House Bracknell town centre
photo : Eagle House, Bracknell by Stephen Richards, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Bracknell Town Centre Regeneration
It has been 75 years since the New Town legislation was brought in, we share below some new research by experts from Henley Business School that gets under the skin of Bracknell Town Centre’s regeneration.

Previously on e-architect

9 June 2022

Social Housing and Right to Buy

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will shortly set out new housing plans. Nathan Reilly, director at mortgage technology provider Twenty7Tec comments on the proposals:

“Whilst at face value this will help some, subject to the finer details, ultimately it doesn’t solve the supply and demand issue that continues to drive house price increases which is impacting the house ownership prospects of the many.”

9 February 2022

New UK Housing Minister News

Stuart Andrew is new UK housing minister

Russell Pedley, co-founder and director at Assael Architecture, comments: “While we welcome Stuart Andrew as Housing Minister in the recent Conservative reshuffle, we’re mindful that this appointment marks the eleventh MP to take the post since 2010.

“Without a chapter defined by long-standing ministerial leadership, and with policy like the planning white paper which hasn’t stuck, we must be careful not to fall back to square one with every new rotation of the revolving door. At a time when the Government’s approach to building safety, housing affordability, and actioning the levelling-up agenda remain remarkably unclear, confidence that the Government has control of the helm will be essential to chart a course through these choppy waters.”

Assael Architecture is an award-winning London-based practice that provides a cohesive suite of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture and visualisation services both in the UK and abroad. They work across a range of sectors, including hospitality, commercial and master planning, and specialise in residentially-led mixed-use schemes.

Assael designs homes across all tenures, from private-for-sale, private-for-rent, including ‘Build to Rent’ through low-cost, shared-equity and social-rented affordable homes. They approach all projects from the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable design and often integrate uses from the leisure, retail and cultural industries to help deliver thriving communities.

One of their best-known projects is Union Wharf, a groundbreaking development purposely designed for rent, providing 249 homes for the Build To Rent sector. Union Wharf is now used as a case study industry-wide and was cited in the government’s Housing White Paper.

9 December 2021

Better, Faster, Greener

Britain’s manufacturers invest more than £500 million to end Britain’s housing crisis – targeting 75,000 sustainable modular homes by end of decade and 50,000 highly skilled jobs across the UK

Make Modular: UK Housing Delivery

17 September 2021

Industry CEO reacts to Government planning reform confusion

Following the Cabinet reshuffle, when Robert Jenrick lost his position as Housing Secretary, planning reforms have been making headlines again. It was revealed today that Michael Gove is currently reviewing the proposed reforms, revising them (while ensuring they stick to the Tory 2019 manifesto pledge) and then “pushing them through”. It comes after reports that the reforms were going to be shelved.

In reaction to this significant news for the property industry, Hugh Gibbs, Co-founder of SearchLand, said:
“The introduction of permitted development rights (PDRs) has shown that measures to simplify the planning application process can have a significant effect on the rate of housebuilding. While it is encouraging that almost 244,000 homes were built in 2019-20, that is still over 50,000 homes a year short of the Government’s self-imposed target – we need that number to keep climbing and reducing the excessive red tape that blights the planning process is a vital step in achieving this.

“As such, it is vital that the new housing secretary presses ahead with the government’s plans to subject the planning system to a serious reform. This is not the time to reverse away from the critical issues the intended reforms sought to address and urgent clarity is needed in the industry, particularly in relation to the government’s stance on permitted development rights. Change is needed and shelving this significant policy issue would only be detrimental to the national housebuilding effort.

“With average property and rent prices climbing, and the population increasing, the housing crisis is only becoming more severe. People need affordable housing, which means that more needs to be done to make planning easier. PDRs have been a positive move, but much more is needed, and the Government must act decisively to address the chronic housing shortage.”

10 September 2021

New home buyers look beyond Greater London for post-pandemic living

Data released today in the WhatHouse? New Homes Index reveals the hottest areas across Britain for new home buyer search with Southeast of England, West Midlands and East Midlands top of the list for August 2021.  A sign that, post pandemic, home buyers are weighing up relocation to areas beyond the traditional Greater London commuter zone and considering a wider range of regions in the hunt for greater space and value for money.

UK new home buyer news

·   In August the national average price of new home property coming to market stayed virtually static at £334,801 (£338,339 in July).

·   Top three new home search areas during August:

1.       Southeast of England has demonstrated the most buyer demand during August 2021, achieving 31,293 new home buyer searches.

2.       West Midlands maintains second position for the second month in a row, achieving 19,921 new home buyer searches during August 2021.

3.       East Midlands has secured a top three search position with 16,760 new home buyer searches during August 2021, representing a 46% increase on July’s figures.

·   During the past six months (March – August 2021) three regions have demonstrated month on month growth in new home search.

1.       East Midlands – 46% growth

2.       Yorkshire & The Humber – 28% growth

3.       Southeast England – 22% growth

Daniel Hill, Managing Director, WhatHouse? comments:

“Whilst buyer’s future new home needs remain uncertain – as many employers are yet to confirm if, or when, the daily commute will return – many continue to consider a move unhindered by the need to be close to traditional transport networks, and with the need for ample home working space in mind.  This all points to buyer interest in new homes remaining strong across the UK, and WhatHouse? predicts higher than average Autumn search activity driven by continued buyer interest in relocation.”

David O’Leary, Policy Director, Home Builders Federation said:

“Buyer interest and appetite for new builds remains high with the clear focus of builders very much on finding a way through a number of thorny supply-side challenges. Materials availability continues to cause headaches and planning delays bring uncertainty and additional expense”.

WhatHouse? New Homes Index

The WhatHouse? New Homes Index is based on data sourced from the WhatHouse? New Homes audience platform.  The Index is compiled using a sample representing approx. 400,000 new home buyer searches across England, Scotland and Wales per year and its findings are reflective of WhatHouse? user experiences and geographic market share.

About WhatHouse? is the UK’s leading new home audience platform. For more than 30 years’ its aim has been to inspire UK homebuyer decisions around new property. With a comprehensive directory of over 7,000 new homes, from the UK’s most celebrated housebuilders, WhatHouse? makes it easy for buyers to consider the diverse range of property developments available and to find their perfect new home match.  The annual WhatHouse? Awards started out back in 1980 and is dubbed ‘the Oscars of the housebuilding industry’.

3 August 2021

UK commercial premises conversion to residential property

This week the Government’s new rules have come into effect making it easier for commercial premises to be converted into residential property. While this might seem like a welcome change, will we really see the high street and office blocks converted into flats – it surely won’t be that easy, says Savio D’Costa, Commercial Real Estate Partner at JMW Solicitors:

“With demand clearly outstripping supply for housing, it is extremely sensible to make it easier to convert building usage for different purposes. As shops move online and restaurants and bars struggle to turn a profit, converting those properties to homes will help meet the high demand for residential housing. However, it’s not as straightforward as it might first appear. These rules have overlooked certain basic requirements – such as being able to convert external facades.

“In addition, the juxtaposition of commercial premises coexisting with residential housing such as in office blocks also has its drawbacks and could change the business district environment altogether.”

16 June 2021

UK House Price Rise

ONS House Price Index Rise

Today’s ONS House Price Index shows that the average UK house price rose by 8.9% in the year to April 2021.

Jamie Johnson, CEO of FJP Investment, said: “While today’s ONS’s data reaffirms what most of us already knew, which is that house prices have risen significantly throughout the first half of the year, we have to remember that there is a time delay with this index. We are receiving insight into the state of the market in April, not right now. This is important because, as the stamp duty holiday approaches, we are really waiting to see if the house price growth continues, plateaus or falls across June, July and into summer.

“The rate of growth has slowed slightly according to ONS, and I expect this trend to continue once the initial stamp duty holiday deadline passes on 30 June. However, given the scheme tapers down rather than coming to an immediate end, this should help avoid any shocks in the property market. Ultimately, demand will not disappear overnight, and the pandemic has demonstrated once again that both homebuyers and investors see bricks and mortar as a safe bet during times of economic uncertainty.”

Paresh Raja, CEO of Market Financial Solutions said: “We are in the eye of a perfect storm, with multiple factors contributing to house prices increasing at a remarkable rate. The role of the stamp duty holiday is well documented. But we must also acknowledge that the pandemic has forced homeowners to reconsider their priorities, prompting many to list their properties and look for new homes. At the same time, the Bank of England’s record low base rate makes borrowing more affordable, while we are also seeing more investors gravitating towards real estate as a reliable asset class in the current climate.

“Given these multiple factors, not to mention the backlog of deals still waiting to be completed, there is every reason to believe prices will continue to increase in the second half of 2021, even if the rate of growth eases off, as was seemingly the case in April when compared to March. The stamp duty holiday might be about to begin its taper back to normal levels, but it would be foolish to assume this will reverse the past year’s progress.”

30 Sep 2020

Impact Of Covid-19 on UK Housebuilding

New Figures Show Impact Of Covid-19 On Housebuilding Rates

Quarterly housing starts and completions lowest since 2000

Industry calls for assistance to construction sector

Wednesday 30 September 2020 – The number of new build homes started or completed in England between April and June 2020 fell to their lowest levels since the year 2000as Covid-19 hit the construction industry, according to new figures published today.

The figures also show, despite Covid, a longer-term decline in housing starts and completions, with the number of homes started or completed in the year to June 2020 also showing a sharp fall.

According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the indicators of new housing supply figures should be regarded as a leading indicator of overall supply.

They show:

  • The number of dwellings where building work has started on site was 15,930 in April to June 2020 – a 52% decrease when compared to the last quarter.  It also follows a recent trend of a slowdown in growth with six of the last six quarters showing a decrease.  Starts are 67% below their March quarter 2007 peak and are 7% below the previous trough in the March quarter of 2009. It is the lowest quarterly starts figure in the seasonally adjusted time series (which begins in the year 2000).
  • There were 121,630 estimated new build dwellings starts in the year to June 2020, a 26 per cent decrease compared to the year to June 2019.
  • The number of dwellings completed on site was 15,390 in April to June 2020.  This is a 62% decrease compared to the last quarter and 64% below their level in the same quarter a year ago. Completions are now 67% below their peak in the March quarter 2007 and 37% below the previous trough in March quarter 2013. It is the lowest quarterly completions figure in the seasonally adjusted time series (which begins in the year 2000).
  • An estimated 147,180 new build dwellings were completed in the year to June 2020, a decrease of 15 per cent compared to the year to June 2019.

Clive Docwra, managing director of property and construction consultancy McBains said:

“Today’s statistics bear out the huge impact that Covid-19 – and in particular the Spring lockdown – has had on housebuilding rates. 

“The government target of building a million new homes in the new five years was always going to be a steep challenge, but the pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to that ambition.

“The industry is now facing a double-whammy – trying to recover from the impact of Covid but also suffering from the uncertainty over a Brexit deal – with investors holding off putting money into new developments until the picture on a withdrawal agreement becomes clearer.

“The Government will no doubt point to its recent planning White Paper as the answer to building more homes, saying that it will mean ‘permission in principle’ will be given to developments on land designated for renewal to speed-up building, but the uncertainty and resulting fluctuating values driven by Covid and Brexit are reducing the incentive on developers to build in the short term.

“The government could address this by temporarily staggering or deferring Section 106 planning obligations – where developers are asked to provide contributions for community infrastructure – so that developers are encouraged to complete housebuilding projects as soon as possible.”

Recent UK housing news on e-architect:

New UK homes for the North and Midlands

13 August 2020

UK Residential Market News

Rental Sector Strength Comment

We post comment below in response to the RICS monthly residential market survey.

Elisabeth Kohlbach, CEO of Skwire comments:
“Doom and gloom surrounding the news that the UK residential market is set for a ‘bust’ in the coming months overlooks a bright spot in a major segment of the residential market – the rental sector.

“The PRS sector is a growing part of the UK’s housing mix and the demand for this part of the market is not going away. Moreover, with lenders introducing a range of restrictions to cope with the spike in demand for mortgages following the announcement of stamp duty relief, many would-be buyers are struggling to get on the ladder and will no doubt turn to the rental market once again.

“While traditional destinations for BTR investors, such as London, may no longer be as attractive as remote workers flock to towns and cities beyond the capital, investors should look to the regions, which offer an exciting and untapped opportunity. Institutional investors should look beyond the traditional high density city-centre developments and seize the opportunity to tap into a rich pool of existing stock across the UK.”

7 August 2020

UK house prices rise in July

Halifax House Price Index for July 2020

Halifax has this morning released its House Price Index for July, showing that house prices have risen month-on-month and year-on-year in reaction to the Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday introduced earlier in the month.

While this is positive news for the sector, can this momentum be maintained?

Jamie Johnson, CEO of FJP Investment
“Today’s House Price Index shows that the stamp duty holiday is having its desired effect, encouraging buyers and sellers to make a cautious return back to the property market. The release of pent-up demand is driving up house prices, slowly making up for the losses that were incurred at the height of the pandemic.

“The big question now is whether this initial burst in activity can be maintained over the next few months. Will house prices continue to grow; or will the momentum fizzle out? There is no clear answer at present. Nonetheless, today’s House Price Index makes the case for cautious optimism.

“Importantly, I do not believe the coronavirus has dampened investor demand for UK real estate. Property’s resilience and ability to quickly recover any losses in value in times of crises makes it a top asset class for both domestic and overseas buyers. Once there is greater certainty about the future of COVID-19 and the post-pandemic recovery, I anticipate buyer demand to return in full force.”

8 July 2020

UK Stamp Duty Changes

8 July 2020
Chancellor’s ‘mini budget’ for green jobs misses mark on transport and housing, says to CPRE

Commenting on the Chancellors ‘mini budget’, Tom Fyans, campaigns and policy director at CPRE, the countryside charity, said:

‘While we have seen promising starts on energy efficiency and shoring up rural hospitality businesses, the Chancellor has missed major opportunities to begin building back better when it comes to transport and housing investment.’

Read more at UK Summer Statement Response

8 July 2020
RIBA reacts to Chancellor’s ‘Plan for Jobs’

“The RIBA has long advocated for a ‘green’ post-COVID recovery, so I welcome the Chancellor’s efforts to put sustainability front and centre of today’s announcements.”

Read more at RIBA UK News

8 July 2020
UK Stamp Duty Changes

View from Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing on the stamp duty changes:

Kush Rawal, Director of Residential Investment from Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing comments: “We welcome the Chancellor’s stamp duty holiday, which makes shared ownership homes an even more attractive option for people looking to own their own home. Removing stamp duty from almost all initial share purchases means that key workers will be able to buy a shared ownership home with as little as two months of rent as their deposit.”

6 July 2020

Is ‘build build build’ best for England’s planning system?

Alister Scott, Professor of Environmental Geography and an expert in urban planning and infrastructure, writes for The Conversation on proposals to change the UK’s planning system.

English Planning System

18 Jun 2020

Timber Frame: Accommodating The Differential

With sales of timber homes and buildings heading towards £1bn in the next 12 months*, Andy Swift, sales and operations manager, UK & ROI for ISO-Chemie, considers sealant tapes for timber frame structures and accommodating differential movement:

New UK Timber Frame Building

3 Jun 2020

UK Architects welcome landmark ARCO Report

We post comments from Mark Rowe, principal at Penoyre & Prasad and Félicie Krikler, director at Assael Architecture in support of ARCO’s landmark report launched earlier today:

Mark Rowe, principal at Penoyre & Prasad, said: “This research highlights the shift towards a more collective way of living – integrating purpose-built accommodation with access to healthcare and facilities that can help maintain independence.” – read more at:

Too little, Too late? Housing for an ageing population

26 Mar 2020

Housebuilding Rates Fall – Even Before Coronavirus Impacts

Thursday 26th of March 2020 – The number of new build homes started and completed in the last quarter of 2019 fell below government targets, according to new government figures published today – and the industry says the coronavirus pandemic is set to impact these further.

According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the new build dwellings figures should be regarded as a leading indicator of overall housing supply.

Today’s figures show that:

  • On a quarterly basis, new build dwelling starts in England were estimated at 34,260 (seasonally adjusted) in the latest quarter, an 11 per cent decrease compared to the previous 3 months and a 17 per cent decrease on a year earlier. Completions were estimated at 44,980 (seasonally adjusted), a 1 per cent decrease from the previous quarter and 3 per cent higher than a year ago.
  • Annual new build dwelling starts totalled 151,020 in the year to December 2019, a 10 per cent decrease compared with the year to December 2018. During the same period, completions totalled 178,800, an increase of 9 per cent compared with last year
  • All starts between October and December 2019 are now 99 per cent above the trough in the March quarter 2009 and 30 per cent below the March quarter 2007 peak. All completions between October and December 2019 are 78 per cent above the trough in the March quarter 2013 and 7 per cent below the March quarter 2007 peak.

Clive Docwra, Managing Director of leading construction consulting and design agency McBains, said:

“The government’s ambitious housebuilding target – delivering a million homes in the next five years – was always going to be extremely challenging, and the latest statistics bear this out. However, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will mean this is now virtually impossible.

“Many sites are empty, supply chains have been disrupted and multi-million pounds worth of private investment is on hold for the foreseeable future. That will knock back housebuilding rates months, if not years.

“The government has already announced an unprecedented package of measures to help support business, but once we’ve turned the tide on the virus further help, such as tax incentives, will be needed to get the UK building again.”

Previously on e-architect:

24 Nov 2017

UK Housebuilding Policy

UK Government Approach to Housing Shortage – Budget Reaction

The UK Chancellor announced a raft of measures aimed at significantly increasing levels of home building and “reviving the British dream of home ownership”.

Key amongst the Chancellor’s statements were the abolition of Stamp Duty Land Tax on homes under £300k for First Time Buyers, £15.3 billion of new financial support for house building over the next five years (which includes money for the government to buy land as well as delivering supporting infrastructure) and more money to help SME builders.

This is in addition to the £10bn extra funding already announced for the English version of the Help to Buy shared equity scheme.

Some reactions to this week’s UK Budget from key built environment representatives:

“In essence the abolition of Stamp duty is the kind of sweeping move we needed to provide hope at the bottom end of the market and hopefully helping towards the aspirational 300K homes per year. As an employer, seeing younger architects get a foothold on the housing ladder is a strong hope and this is surely a welcome hand-out to bring the youth vote around for the Conservatives.

We would like to see more certainty on how the £44Bn figure to aid housebuilding will actually materialise into capital expenditure from Central or Local Government. The budget won’t solve the disconnect in planning, unless some of that cash is pumped into increasing resources in planning departments.”

Graham Hickson-Smith, Commercial Director, 3DReid

“It’s good to see the government taking the housing crisis seriously with the final quarter of the speech devoted to this one subject, an impressive commitment to extra spending of £44bn over five years and the headline grabbing finale of the reduction in stamp duty. The devil though will, as always be in the detail.

The lifting of HRA caps is good in principle but there are no details at all, while the £34m for skills training sounds like a drop in the ocean when we are faced with a huge likely loss of construction workers post-Brexit. Other measures announced include the review to be chaired by Oliver Letwin which may, helpfully, lay to rest the myth that land banking is a serious problem – most developers being concerned to turn over their capital as fast as possible rather than tie it up in dormant sites.

Finally there is the reduction in stamp duty for first time buyers, which will undoubtedly appeal to younger voters, but the same measure would probably be much more effective, economically, as an incentive to retired people to downsize, releasing under-occupied houses into the market.”

Richard Morton, Richard Morton Architects

“We really welcome the Chancellor’s moves to boost the supply of badly-needed new homes. Policies which aim to lower the cost of land and bring forward more building sites, particularly in urban areas well served by public transport, are good news – and preferable to policies which make it easier for some people to afford high house prices.

But all of this new housing needs to be sustainable, in environmental terms, and here the government’s policies are seriously lacking. It wants five new garden cities, but has said virtually nothing about what defines them.

The Budget has not addressed the critical need for green and low-carbon infrastructure and low-impact homes, not just on green fields, but everywhere. Nor has this budget addressed the need to upgrade and retrofit millions of our existing energy-inefficient homes.”

Sue Riddlestone OBE, Chief Executive of Bioregional

22 Jan 2016

UK Housing Expansion – Homebuilding in Great Britain

The Ministry of Defence has put 12 sites on the block to provide land for up to 15,000 new homes.

Government Defence Minister Mark Lancaster said the land sale was expected to raise £500m, which will be ploughed back into frontline defence budgets, reports

The sale is the first tranche of more ambitious plans to support the government’s ambition to build 160,000 homes by 2020.

The MOD, which owns around 1% of all UK land, plans to slash the size of its built estate by nearly a third, with its current holdings stretching to 452,000 hectares.

As part of that plan, the Ministry has committed to generating £1bn through land sales during this parliament and contributing up to 55,000 homes.

Imber in Wiltshire, on Salisbury Plain, England “was evacuated in 1943. The village, still classed as a civil parish, remains under control of the Ministry of Defence”:
UK MOD site, housing in Imber
photograph ©

Ministry of Defence Estate Sell-off
MoD estate sell-off – tranche 1
12 sites placed on the market:

– Kneller Hall in Twickenham
– Claro and Deverell barracks in Ripon
– RAF sites Molesworth and Alconbury in Cambridgeshire, and Mildenhall in Suffolk.
– Lodge Hill in Kent
– Craigiehall in Edinburgh
– HMS Nelson Wardroom in Portsmouth
– Hullavington Airfield in Wiltshire
– RAF Barnham in Suffolk
– MOD Feltham in London

The MOD will announce further sites in due course, with a full list published in the Footprint Strategy later in 2016.


UK MOD Housing site, Imber
photograph ©

British Houses

UK Government Design Advisory Panel – New Housing Design Quality

Chair of RIBA Housing Group, Andy Von Bradsky, represented RIBA this week on the government’s Design Advisory Panel. The panel was set up under the coalition government and has been re-formed by the current government to advise on key policy issues, reports the RIBA.

The RIBA has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement that a Design Advisory Panel is being set up to ‘set the bar on housing design across the country’ and is looking forward to working with other panel members.

David Cameron announced the creation of the panel this week when he confirmed the go ahead for a new Starter Homes scheme, though the panel will inform government policies on housing design nationally.

Fleet Street Hill Housing in London by Peter Barber Architects:
New UK Housing Fleet Street Hill London
image from architect

The DCLG has already confirmed that panel members will include Sir Terry Farrell, classicist Sir Quinlan Terry and philosopher Roger Scruton alongside nominated representatives from the RIBA, RTPI, Design Council and Create Streets.

The panel will be chaired by ministers, so there are high hopes that it will have a genuine influence on policy.
The Government says the panel will act as a sounding board, so that the housing and design industry can discuss policy issues with ministers and senior government officials. Its remit will cover:

Emerging housing and planning policy to ensure that good design is considered and embedded from the outset.
Delivery of housing and planning policy to ensure that good design is achieved through Government’s programmes.
Emerging industry issues and barriers to good design in housing delivery.

Inspiring design of Grand Large Housing Dunkirk:
Grand Large Housing Dunkirk
photo from ANMA/Agence Nicolas Michelin & Associés

‘We welcome the response from Government to the Farrell review and our own recommendation to have more design advice available to Government when shaping policy.’ said RIBA Head of External Affairs Anna Scott-Marshall.

‘It is encouraging that the Government, industry and other professionals will work in collaboration to ensure that we build the right kinds of homes in the right kinds of places.’
Farrell is also enthusiastic and said the panel has the potential to make a real difference.

‘It builds on the recommendations of the Farrell Review (, which highlighted the need for more proactive planning and better placemaking as we attempt to address the housing crisis, with radically higher priority given to landscape, sustainability and the public realm.’

Stadthaus at 24 Murray Grove, London, by Waugh Thistleton – constructed entirely in timber, the nine-storey high-rise is the tallest timber residential building in the world

Stadthaus Murray Grove Housing
Stadthaus photo : Will Pryce
Murray Grove Housing

Interesting link:

Imber village on Salisbury Plain under control of the Ministry of Defence

UK Housing Links:

Housing Crisis

New London Housing

British Homes

British House Designs

English Architecture:

English Architecture Designs – chronological list

Location: UK

Contemporary British Homes

Recent British Home Designs

Black House, Kent, Southeast England
Architect: AR Design Studio
Black House Kent contemporary property - English Houses
image courtesy of architects
Black House in Kent

A House for Essex, Essex, Southeast England
Design: FAT Architecture and Grayson Perry
House for Essex by FAT + Grayson Perry - English Houses
photograph : Jack Hobhouse
A House for Essex

Balancing Barn, Suffolk, Southeast England
Design: MVRDV
Balancing Barn by MVRDV in Suffolk - English Houses
photo : Living Architecture
Balancing Barn Suffolk

Hurst House, Buckinghamshire, Southern England
Design: John Pardey Architects with Ström Architects
Buckinghamshire Property: Hurst House, Bourne End
photo : Andy Matthews
Buckinghamshire Property

Contemporary North European Homes

Recent North European Houses

Danish Houses

German Houses

French Houses

Comments / photos for the New UK Housing Shortage – Current British Housebuilding page welcome