Housing delivery falls short of expectations
Published:  21 May, 2012

UK: Office for National Statistics data has reported that housing delivery is currently falling well short of expectations. The number of starts in the first three months of the year was not only sharply down on the final quarter of 2011 but the most disappointing number since the autumn of 2010.

According to Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors: "The drop in development activity was visible not just in housing associations and local authorities but also in the private sector.

"There are good reasons for expecting government policy to gradually have an impact on the level of starts. The NewBuy mortgage indemnity scheme only started a couple of months back and is taking a while to gain traction. More important for the medium-term could prove to be the planning changes that have been pushed through by the Government.

"Even if the measures do begin to pay dividends, it is hard to see to the increase coming anywhere near the level of new housing required."

Mr Rubinsohn believes it is this lack of access to finance that is continuing to hold back development at the current time and probably for the foreseeable future.

According to the most recent RICS Construction Survey, close to two-thirds of respondents have seen no evidence that finance is becoming more readily available. "Only 15% have seen an improvement," he said.

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