First-time buyer transactions hit a high, whilst SMEs reveal major barriers to housing delivery

Property transactions bounce back, as Halifax reveals record house price growth

This week saw HMRC publish their latest property transaction data for November 2021, revealing that residential transactions bounced back after the end of the stamp duty holiday, rising 24.3% in one month.

HMRC stated that 96,290 transactions were carried out in November 2021; a reduction of 16.4% than November 2020, but just 3% lower than pre-pandemic levels.

Meanwhile, Halifax published their house price index, revealing – as Nationwide did last week – that the average UK property has reached a record high.

Rising by 1.1% in the month and 9.8% in the year, the average property has seen its value rise by around £24,500 to £276.091. Wales was the best-performing region, seeing annual house price inflation of 14.5%.

Finally, the number of first-time buyers last year reached its highest level since 2002, according to Yorkshire Building Society.

At 408,300 transactions in 2021, the number of people buying their first home increased by 35% in the year, and was more than double the level in the years following the financial crisis of 2007-08.

There were 531,800 first-time buyer transactions in 2002. First-time buyers have, in recent years, been affected by affordability and the impacts of the pandemic.

Planning delays affect SMEs, as Barratt calls for policy changes

A survey of smaller housebuilders has seen 94% of respondents cite delays in securing planning permission as a major barrier to increasing housing delivery.

The research, conducted by the Home Builders Federation, Close Brothers Property Finance and Travis Perkins also found that 78% of SMEs believe the supply and cost of building materials as a major challenge to completing units.

Meanwhile, Barratt Developments have called for changes in local authority planning policy to meet the changing demands of buyers.

Triggered by the pandemic, buyers now demand space to work from home, with a survey by planning consultancy Lichfields finding that 49% of respondents believed their current property was not suitable for working from home.

Despite this, many local authorities insist on policies which dictate how many bedrooms should be provided in new-build homes, with a bias towards smaller one or two-bed properties. Barratts argue that this restricts scope for additional space for an office, and could worsen the current mismatch between supply and demand.

Ilke Homes report over £100m of losses over four years

Modular housebuilder Ilke Homes has reported a £41m loss in the year to March 2021, bringing total losses over the past four years to £107m.

Citing staff overheads, continuing start-up costs and the impact of Covid, the firm installed 199 homes in 2021, an increase of a third in the year.

However, Ilke continue to target top-ten housebuilder status, claiming that they will see fortunes improve over the next financial year as they work through an order book totalling £300m.

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