House Building Up in 2022 Despite Q4 Challenges

THERE WERE 191,801 new home registrations in 2022, the highest number since 2007 (198,467), according to new homes data released by the National House Building Council (NHBC).

Within that, data also shows the final quarter of the year saw a 21% drop in new home registrations compared to the previous quarter (35,041 in Q4 vs. 44,542 in Q3) as the impact of September’s mini budget and wider economic challenges took hold.

In Q4, 10 out of 12 UK regions experienced a decline in new home registrations with volumes down significantly compared to the previous quarter. London was worst affected with a 63% decline, followed by the North East at -47% and Wales, the North West and Merseyside joint third at -33%.

Steve Wood, CEO at NHBC

Steve Wood, CEO at NHBC, said: “Whilst the final quarter of 2022 was undoubtedly a challenging one, it was off the back of strong market performance in the first half of the year.

“Rising interest rates and the cost-of-living crisis have had a marked impact on many areas of the UK economy. House building has not been immune from these factors but the demand for high quality new homes, whether in the private or rental sector, is still holding up. It is too early to judge how long any slowdown is likely to last, house building continues to show resilience. The sector has shown time and time again that it can weather market fluctuations and respond to rising demand.

“We are seeing some early indications that enquiries for new build homes are easing up, which is perhaps a sign that people need to get on with their lives.”

Q4 Activity

In Q4, private sector registrations were most affected with a decline of 28% (23,203 homes in Q4 2022 vs 32,293 in Q3 2022). New home registrations in the rental sector were less affected, down by only 3% (11,838 homes registered in Q4 2022 vs 12,249 in Q3 2022), as Housing Associations report increased demand for affordable homes amidst the cost-of-living crisis and the Build to Rent sector is still seeing significant levels of investment.

David Campbell, NHBC Commercial Director

David Campbell, Commercial Director at NHBC, said: “House building in the rental sector has remained steady in the last two quarters, with investors and developers pivoting towards the increasing demand for high-quality rental homes. The diversity of the house building market and greater focus on Build to Rent is proving to be an important factor in housing supply.”

He reflected that while the first quarter of 2023 is likely to be a challenging time for the house building market, there is some cause for cautious optimism.

“Builders and developers have historically held up well in tough economic circumstances, in part bolstered by the imbalance between demand and supply of new homes. As one might expect, many are considering the viability of launching new projects to the market very carefully, particularly in light of the latest Bank of England base rate rise, but there are signs that this will be temporary as enquiry and reservation levels begin to rise,” added David.


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