London on track for new homes targets

Sarah Davidson

July 3, 2015

The number of new homes approved by the planning system in Q1 represents an annualised figure of 47,460 new homes across Greater London.

This is nearly 20,000 more homes per year than the equivalent rate of approvals in the previous quarter (Q4 2014), or a 73% acceleration.

This means homes are now receiving the go-ahead fast enough to hit official City Hall and UK government targets.

In the first quarter, 11,870 homes were given planning permission across 1,553 separate sites, according to the study of all planning applications decided across the capital’s 32 boroughs and the City of London.

These approvals represent 82% of the 14,400 total homes applied for in Q1. Had every single home building application been approved, London would now be well on track to housing the predicted annual population growth of London, with what would have been an annualised 57,590 homes.

This acceleration in the initial stages of the house building process is yet to feed through to completions. The opening quarter saw just 5,420 completed homes, meaning that this number of new properties finished in Q1 only annualises to a much less impressive 21,680 new homes per year.

As such, this number of finished homes may be small, but has been rising steadily since Q3 2014 – 5,420 completions in Q1 2015 represents a 29% uptick on the previous quarter.

Annualised, the number of housing starts in Q1 2015 stands at some 38,200 – just shy of government housing targets, but more than three times the number of housing projects started in Q4 2014, and up 54% compared to the number of starts in the same quarter last year.

Andrew Bridges, managing director of Stirling Ackroyd, said: “New homes are on the way. Having stuttered for so long, London has developed a clear housing deficit. If this pipeline of new property comes to fruition, it will represent exactly the heavy-duty, industrial scale of response needed to start filling the housing hole.

“Things are finally going in the right direction, yet in fact, government targets may not be set high enough. Our analysis shows London needs to build an average of 57,000 new homes a year just to cope with expected population growth over the next decade.

“That means astronomical improvements in approvals and building starts need to be sustained, and even improved upon, for the next three quarters just to meet what’s needed this year. So Londoners should hope this is more than a brief alignment of the stars, and any complacency now would be a mistake.”

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