The number of new homes being registered by the UK’s housebuilders and developers got off to a positive start in the first three months of 2019, despite Brexit uncertainties, industry figures suggest.
More than 37,500 new homes were registered, a 3% increase on the same period in 2018, the National House Building Council (NHBC) said.
The NHBC’s registration figures are taken from builders who are responsible for around 80% of homes constructed in the UK.
Builders are required to register a house with the NHBC, a warranty and insurance provider, before starting work, which means its figures represent homes to be built in the months ahead.
The NHBC said 37,672 new homes were registered to be built in the first quarter, with a 6% fall in the number of private sector homes compared with the same period in 2018 and a 36% increase in homes being built in the affordable and rental sector.
Some 26,841 homes were registered in the private sector, while 10,831 were registered in the affordable and rental sector in the first quarter of 2019.
The overall year-on-year increase in homes being registered is partly due to the severe weather caused by the Beast From The East disrupting building activity last year, the NHBC said.
There were 5,625 home registrations in London in the first quarter of 2019, a 58% jump compared with a year earlier.
The figures have been boosted by a number of large schemes being registered at the start of this year, the NHBC said.
NHBC chief executive Steve Wood said: “We are pleased to report good numbers for the start of the year, although we do need to bear in mind the situation 12 months ago when freezing conditions caused major hold-ups in registrations as well as build rates across the bulk of the UK.
“Although Brexit uncertainties are impacting consumer confidence and causing some dampening of new-build and second-hand sale markets, housing remains an attractive asset class for inward investors.”
Figures released by the Bank Of England this week show the number of mortgages being approved to home buyers fell to a 15-month low in March, as the original Brexit deadline approached.
Some estate agents have reported seeing a pick-up in interest from buyers in recent weeks, with the date for departing the EU now having been extended.
Here are the numbers of new home registrations across the UK between January and March and the percentage change compared with January to March 2018, according to the NHBC:
– North East, 1,298, minus 9%
– North West, 3,968, minus 22%
– Yorkshire and Humberside, 2,511, 2%
– West Midlands, 3,285, 3%
– East Midlands, 2,650, minus 23%
– Eastern England, 3,658, minus 4%
– South West, 3,737, 15%
– London, 5,625, 58%
– South East, 6,267, 8%
– Scotland, 2,444, 0%
– Wales, 1,230, 1%
– Northern Ireland and Isle of Man, 999, 17%