StripeHomes: Biggest housebuilders increase land banking by 4%
StripeHomes analysed data on the volume of land banking plots held by Britain’s biggest housebuilders and found that they totalled 441,702 plots in 2020, a 4% increase on the previous year.
The current level of land bank plots by these housebuilders alone exceeds the government’s target to build 300,000 new homes a year.
Barratt was found to be Britain’s biggest land banker – as of 2020, Barratt owned 80,324 land bank plots.
Second was Taylor Wimpey, owner of 77,000 land bank plots, and third was Persimmon with 67,205.
In 2019, however, Persimmon owned 71,942 land bank plots, which means its total fell by 7% between 2019 and 2020.
Persimmon was one of only two developers to shed plots, with the second being Redrow which reduced its land banked plots by 5% between 2019 and 2020.
No developer has made a greater effort to increase its stock than the Vistry Group; in 2019, Vistry owned 18,358 bank plots, whereas by 2020, it owned 34,053, an increase of 85%.
In the same timeframe, Countryside increased its bank stock by 8%, Berkeley increased by 6%, Bellway by 4%, and Taylor Wimpey by 1%.
James Forrester, managing director of StripeHomes, said: “The process of developing and delivering homes to market is a lengthy one, and so any developer is likely to be sitting on a certain degree of land at any one time.
“However, it’s fair to say that the practice of land banking has been abused across the UK with many big developers drip-feeding the market in order to maintain a positive trend line where their profits are concerned.
“A decision based on nothing more than self-interest and greed and arguably no different to hard-nosed eBay sellers hoarding hand sanitiser and PPE during the pandemic and selling it on at an extortionate rate.
“It’s time we readdress the balance and take the power away from these sector goliaths.
“There’s a wealth of smaller enterprises delivering developments across the UK with a focus on social impact and community benefit.
“Of course, we don’t expect any business to operate at a loss, however, it’s time that the UK homebuyer stops paying the price for corporate greed.”