Net new homes in England hit highest level since records began

The annual housing supply in England amounted to 243,770 net additional dwellings in 2019- 20, up 1% on 2018-19, the latest figures from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government reveal.

The total number of net additional dwellings in 2019- 20 was to 243,770.

This included 220,600 new build homes, 26,930 gains from change of use between non-domestic and residential, 4,340 from conversions between houses and flats and 930 other gains, such as caravans and house boats, and this was offset by 9,020 demolitions.

Jonathan Samuels, CEO of Octane Capital, said: “The negligible increase in England’s net housing supply compared to the previous year reflects the almost frenzied Brexit-related uncertainty of 2019.

“While Brexit paralysis will have played a role in the flatlining of the net housing supply last year, we’re clearly going to see a material drop in the current year due to the pandemic.

“The announcement of a £7.1bn national home building fund in Wednesday’s Spending Review will in theory help the market bounce back but similar initiatives over the years have failed to seriously tackle the lack of supply.”

Some 12,348 of the net additions from change of use were through ‘permitted development rights’, in which full planning permission is not required.

These comprised 10,589 additional dwellings from former offices, 734 from agricultural buildings, 146 from storage buildings, 47 from light industrial buildings and 832 from other non-domestic buildings.

Samuels added: “In recent years, we’ve seen a noticeable increase in houses being converted into multiple units and bigger houses, once planning permission is secured, being transformed into Houses in Multiple Occupation.

“Landlords have been doing this as it helps them to manufacture value out of their properties in the form of higher yields and increased values.

“Commercial to residential conversions have also been growing in number given the more relaxed rules around planning as a whole.

“With the number of PRS developments growing by the day, we have also seen a significant increase in the number of landlords refurbishing their existing properties in order to remain attractive to prospective tenants.

“While this isn’t adding to the net housing supply, it is certainly enhancing and improving it.”

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