Housebuilders blame 'capitulation to Nimby lobby' for lack of homes – but are they just protecting their profits?

Housebuilders blame ‘capitulation to Nimby lobby’ for lack of homes – but are they just protecting their profits?

Ministers have been accused of ‘capitulation to the Nimby lobby’ after the number of planning permissions granted for new homes tumbled.

In a report that fuelled fears over the chronic shortage of housing in Britain, the Home Builder Federation (HBF) said approvals for new developments ‘continue to plunge’.

The report showed planning permission was granted for 135,290 new homes in the first half of the year – down 17 per cent on a year ago.

At the same time, the number of housing projects given the green light fell to 2,456 in the second quarter, down 20 per cent on a year earlier and the lowest level since similar records began in 2006. 

The HBF said if the trend continues it will lead to a reduction in delivery of 44,000 homes a year which would see housing supply for England fall to levels not seen for a decade. 

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF, said: ‘Over recent years the policy environment has become increasingly anti-development and anti-business.

‘The Government’s capitulation to the Nimby lobby on planning, its mishandling of water legislation and amid a lack of mortgage availability the lack of support for first-time buyers could see housing supply drop markedly in the coming years.

‘Fewer homes being built amidst an acute housing crisis has clear social implications, in particular for young people.’

Yet, the claims come as major housebuilders have revealed a slump in demand from buyers.

This week both Barratt and Berkeley revealed that new home reservations had plummeted and forecast that they would build less homes next year.

Barratt said new home reservations had slumped by 30 per cent while Berkeley said its reservations were down 35 per cent.

Both builders continue to make big profits and maintain high sale prices, however, there are concerns over how the sector will perform as the full effect of much higher mortgage rates comes through, alongside the lack of Help to Buy subsidies that boosted builders in the past.

Berkeley announced that it would freeze land investment as rate hikes bite.