The accountancy regime used by planning authorities in England to provide a 5-year supply of housing land has encouraged land speculation and introduced perverse incentives for landowners and developers to reduce the supply of new homes.
In my new article for Urban Studies journal I argue that planning policies introduced by Conservative governments in England have encouraged house builders to trade land instead of building homes and have created a new industry in the sale of land with planning permission.
In 2019 local planning authorities awarded planning permission for almost 400,000 homes, more than twice as many as are being built. Almost 60 per cent of all residential planning permissions are now held by non-builders: site promoters, landowners and their agents, who sell the undeveloped land to capitalise on its uplift. The length of time taken to build-out sites has doubled, and the number of homes started by the speculative builders appears to have peaked at 135,000 a year. Every year approximately 150,000 homes with planning permission never get built.
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