Regions leading house building boom

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Yorkshire is among the strongest areas of the country for house-building activity as the recovery broadens out beyond London, an industry body has reported.

According to figures released by the National House Building Council (NHBC), more new homes are being built than at any point since 2007, and it is the regions north of London that are leading the increase.

New registrations for house building in the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber were up by 32 per cent between July and September compared with a year earlier, while those in London were up by six per cent.

In total, The NHBC has recorded 107,017 registrations for house building between January and September 2014, which is a six per cent increase on the same period a year earlier and the highest year-to-date total since 2007, before the economic downturn struck.

Within this year’s total, 36,343 registrations were between July and September - the strongest total for the third quarter since 2007.

Registration figures are taken from builders who are responsible for around 80 per cent of new homes in the UK. Builders register a house with the NHBC before starting work.

The NHBC said its data shows the house building recovery is “genuine” and “broad-based”, with pockets of strong growth in the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the West Midlands.

It said: “Housing growth is no longer London and South East-centric, with these regions beginning to show signs of cooling.”

Matthew Jones, residential development director at property firm Savills in Leeds, said there had been a revival of the Yorkshire residential development land market in the past two years, with Greenfield land values increasing in the last 12 months by 13.8 per cent.

“This has been driven by a lack of progress on development through the recession and a continued shortage of housing across Yorkshire,” he said.

“The market is being led by the national house builders who still have a strong appetite for land, especially in the main urban areas. Sites that are most popular with buyers will eventually be built for the family housing market. There is still a gap between supply and demand for housing in Yorkshire so we expect demand to remain for some time into the foreseeable future.”

The NHBC added a note of caution to its latest findings. It also reported that small builders are struggling to raise finance from “risk averse” lenders and that there is a shortage of skilled people such as bricklayers, carpenters and decorators as work picks up.

Local authorities meanwhile are trying to reach agreements over the details of Local Plans, the critically important planning documents that will decide how many new homes are built and where they should be built in the coming years.

In York, business leaders have expressed concern that delays to the city council agreeing its Local Plan, which proposes designating land for 20,000 new homes to be built by 2030, could damage the city’s economy. After recent political upheavals, the ruling Labour group is now outnumbered by the opposition parties who have signalled they will push for major changes to the proposals.