Number of new homes registered this year so far ‘is down by 30%’

The number of new homes registered to be built by the UK’s housebuilders in the first three-quarters of 2020 was down by 30% on the same period last year, according to an industry body.

Between January and September 2020, 83,359 homes were registered to be built – more than 36,000 fewer than the 119,476 registered in the same period last year.

The figures, which give an indication of the pipeline of new housing stock, were released by warranty and insurance provider the National House Building Council (NHBC). Builders register plots before work is started.

It said that in the second quarter of 2020, registration levels halved compared with the second quarter of 2019. They fell from 42,580 to 20,102, as house builders felt the full force of lockdown restrictions in the spring.

The second quarter of 2020 represented the lowest number of quarterly registrations of new builds since the NHBC’s figures started in 2008.

But it added that there were encouraging signs in the third quarter as builders returned to site.

The number of new homes completed in the third quarter of 2020 was just 4% below levels in the same period in 2019.

NHBC chief executive Steve Wood said: “The Covid-19 pandemic delivered a sharp shock to the housing market in the second quarter of 2020, when work on site was halted and new home registrations fell to historically low levels.”

He added: “House builders are facing an unprecedented set of challenges and whilst sales demand has been strong in recent months, there is significant economic uncertainty going into 2021, as the full impact of the pandemic plays out and the UK exits the European Union.

“Despite these headwinds, the house building industry is adaptable and resilient and the fundamental factors affecting supply and demand point to gradual recovery over the medium term.”

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