UK housebuilders had their best year in decade for starting work on new homes in 2017 and the outlook for 2018 is positive, according to the National House-Building Council (NHBC)
The NHBC reports that builders registered plans to start 160,606 new homes in 2017, up 6% from 2016 and the highest number since the start of the financial crisis in 2007.
Completions rose 4 % to 147,278, the most since 2008.
Nine out of 12 UK regions experienced an increase in registrations, with the East Midlands, Wales and the North West among the areas which saw noticeable growth.
Figures for London showed the rate of new homes being registered was slightly up on 2016, with 17,850 units compared to 17,587 the previous year, the first increase year-on-year in the capital since 2014.
Strong year ahead
Steve Wood, NHBC’s chief executive, said he expected housing starts to rise further in 2018. “Our figures show the market has delivered strong growth resulting in the highest new home figures for a decade and growth across the majority of the UK, including London for the first time since 2014.
"He added: “With 6% growth in the quantity of new home registrations, the focus on delivering quality for consumers remains critical."
UK housebuilders have been offered support by a government target of 300,000 new homes a year to deal with a national shortage of housing. However, the sector does face notable headwinds.
According to the NHBC, construction companies are finding it harder to recruit skilled labour from eastern Europe in the run up to Brexit.
With land at such a premium, particularly in cities such as London and Manchester, developers are also finding planning consent a real pressure with bodies such as Sport England proving vigilant over school playing fields or recreation grounds being sold off for housing.