Housebuilding shortage not due to land banking say developers
Developers have rejected assertions that they are land banking in an attempt to profit from rising land values, thus holding back housebuilding figures.
Labour leader Ed Miliband shot a warning across the bow of the UK’s housebuilders earlier this week when he accused them of sitting on land which could be used for new homes.
The party’s new independent commission on housing, chaired by Michael Lyons says 200,000 homes need to be build per year by 2020 if the supply problems in the property market are to be addressed.
One way of achieving this which has been suggested could be more encouragement to housebuilders to build on land they already own.
The UK’s four biggest developers, Barratt, Berkeley, Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey hold 300,000 plots of land collectively.
However Pete Redfern, chief executive of Taylor Wimpey, rejected Miliband’s claims, saying that land is used “as soon as possible”, once planning permission is received.
He added that his company only hold a “tiny percentage of land” once planning permission is granted, which he said is typical of the industry.
A spokesperson for the Home Builders’ Federation (HBF), also gave a staunch defence of housebuilders, saying that developers “do not” land bank.
“All the evidence is there. As soon as developers get a planning permission they want to start on site. Developers are not land hoarders.”
“We are looking to work with the Lyons Commission to help them understand the complexity of housing delivery going forward,” the spokesperson added.
Shares in the housebuilding sector were down on Monday morning, Persimmon dipped 1.7 per cent, Barratt 0.9 per cent and Taylor Wimpey 0.2 per cent.
Miliband also took aim at councils during his speech at the weekend, accusing some of being “stick in the mud”.
“We will tackle those councils that block homes, those developers that hoard land and this government that fails to act on the worst housing shortages for a generation. We will stand up for homebuilders and first-time buyers,” he promised.
By Phil Scullion Follow @philscullion