New home planning permissions in England have reached their highest level since 2008 according to figures released by the Home Builders Federation and Glenigan today.

And government statistics also released today show that both starts and completions of private sector homes were up in 2015, by 8% and 20% respectively.

The HBF/Glenigan Housing Pipeline report finds that planning permission was granted for 59,875 homes in England during the third quarter of 2015, up 12%. The report shows that 242,819 permissions were granted in the months to October, the highest moving annual total since early 2008.

The government stats reveal that in total 143,560 new build homes were started in 2015, up 6% on last year. Of these 119,210 were private sector (up 8%), 22,680 housing association (down 1%) and 1,670 local authority (down 36%). Quarterly figures show that there were 31,100 private sector starts in the final three months of the year, 24% up on last year.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF, said: “The housebuilding industry has delivered an unprecedented increase in build rates over the past two years. 

“The industry’s ability to increase output still further will largely be dictated by the rate at which planning permissions are granted. Whilst the overall increase in outline permissions is welcome, most of these still have to navigate the complexities of the planning system before they can be built. It is imperative we speed up the time it takes for applications to be processed to the point that builders can actually build if we are to deliver further increases in housing supply.

 “Introducing competition into the planning process and finding a way to incentivise local authorities to deal with applications more quickly would be a welcome step in the right direction.”

Communities secretary Greg Clark said: “Today’s figures show how our reforms to the planning system are delivering the permissions needed and schemes like Help to Buy have given builders the confidence to invest and build, with starts and completions now at their highest since 2008. 

“But we’re determined to do even more, and fulfil our ambition to deliver 1 million new homes by 2021.”