A decade on, new home numbers go through roof Louisa Clarence-Smith The National House Building Council said that 43,578 new homes had been registered in the third quarter, the highest number of in any quarter since 2007JASON ALDEN/GETTY There has been a surge in activity by Britain’s housebuilders over the past three months, with construction companies registering the greatest number of new homes since before the global financial crisis. The National House Building Council, which provides warranties for about 80 per cent of new homes, said that 43,578 new homes had been registered in the third quarter, the highest number of in any quarter since 2007. The number of registrations was 15 per cent higher than in the same period last year. Builders register new homes that are expected to be built in the coming months or weeks to be covered by NHBC’s ten-year warranty. Despite the recent surge in building, the July-to-September figure brings registrations for this year to 119,083, less than half the government’s target of building 300,000 homes a year by 2025. The total for the three quarters is also below the 120,681 homes built over the same period last year. Housing associations and overseas investors that are focused on the rented homes market helped to drive a 141 per cent rise in year-on-year registrations in London, the council said. The number shot up to 6,007, compared with 2,494 in the same period last year, which was unusually low. Other regions experiencing growth compared with the previous year included Yorkshire and Humberside, the South West and Scotland, where the number of new registrations rose 39 per cent, 34 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively. Of the new homes registered, 33,520 were in the private sector, a rise of 16 per cent on last year, and 10,058 were affordable homes, an increase of 12 per cent year-on-year. Steve Cook, chief executive of NHBC, said: “On the broader front, the industry remains cautious in the short run until the economic impact of Brexit is clearer. “Attaining the government’s target of 300,000 new homes by the middle of the next decade will require a real focus on innovation, particularly the use of modern methods of construction, and on building skills and capacity in the workforce, topics many builders are actively grappling with.” Wales was among five of twelve regions to experience a fall in registrations over the period, at a drop of 10 per cent, which the NHBC attributed to weaker sentiment caused by Brexit. “In general, new home volumes are significantly higher than the ten-year national average, but we are now beginning to see more concern around Brexit,” Paul Edwards, regional director for Wales at NHBC, said. Northern Ireland recorded a 71 per cent increase in registrations with 1,281 homes, compared with 747 in the same quarter last year. The council said that the private sector and the government’s social housing development programme had contributed to the uplift. “Greater Belfast and Lisburn remain among the hotspot areas for private home buyers, while we are seeing affordable housing developments in all towns throughout the province,” Padraig Venney, NHBC regional director, Northern Ireland, said. Homes England, the government’s housing agency, published a five-year strategic plan last week intended to increase supply in the housing market. The agency, launched in January to replace the Homes and Communities Agency, has a remit to adopt a more commercial approach to acquiring, preparing, managing and developing land in areas of high demand. The plan sets out how it will use these powers. Key initiatives include unlocking public and private land, supporting investment products to help housebuilding and infrastructure and promoting the use of modern methods of construction. Kit Malthouse, the housing minister, said that the agency would become the “WD-40 of the housing industry”. He said it would move “between the public sector and the private sector, lubricating the wheels of housing development, assembling land, dealing with difficult planning issues, putting everybody together to try and create the homes that we need across the country”.