Glenigan has released new research which shows a surge in the social housing planning pipeline. With the number of affordable housing units growing by nearly 20%, the pipeline is at its highest level for six years.
The study covers detailed planning applications for new-build housing made by registered social landlords (RSLs) or housing associations made during 2016.
A total of 435 detailed planning applications of ten or more units were submitted by RSLs during the 2016 calendar year, comprising 24,039 homes.
Glenigan economics director Allan Wilén said: “Although the number of affordable homes in the planning pipeline has risen substantially to its highest level in this decade, there has been a far bigger increase of 60% in the planning pipeline for private housebuilders.”
The report also shows that while planning from private housebuilders has fallen slightly, reducing the ratio of social to private housing, RSLs are also planning to build more apartments.
Although the report shows a boost in planning activity, on site activity is still lagging behind, with social housing starting on site having low numbers.
Mr Wilén added: “The social housing sector’s prospects continue to be hit by policies from the Conservative Government with social rents cut by 1% in real terms for four years up to 2020, which has hit associations’ funding streams.
“The Government’s decision to defer the extension of the “Right to Buy” to housing association tenants appears to have encouraged associations to bring forward new projects. The value of detailed planning approvals during the first five months of 2017 was 39% up on a year ago. We expect this improved development pipeline to lift sector activity over the next 18 months.
“Near term, however, the tragic event of the Grenfell fire is likely to disrupt the progress of planned developments. The immediate need to review and address any safety issues on the existing high rise stock is likely to divert associations’ internal resources. In addition, associations will wish to review the implications of the fire for any planned refurbishment and new build schemes.”
The rise in activity in Glenigan’s figures is reflected in data from the National House-Building Council, which reports that registrations to build new affordable homes leapt by 32% in the three months to May 2017.