New apartment registrations plummet 21% in Q1 2021, reveals NHBC

The latest data from NHBC has revealed a 21% year-on-year drop in new-build apartments registered during Q1 2021.

NHBC statistics provide figures on new home construction and the housebuilding industry and relates to new homes registered with NHBC for its 10-year warranty, which the insurance provider states covers circa 70-80% of all new homes built in the UK.

During the first quarter of this year, 7,022 apartments were registered, a sizeable reduction on Q1 2020’s numbers (8,904).

The NHBC data found that this is the only type of property that has seen a decrease in the number of registrations, with bungalows, detached, semi-detached and terraced houses all recording increases of 37%, 18%, 30% and 14%, respectively.

This could reflect the desire for longer-term WFH space, accelerated by the pandemic. 

Overall, 36,863 new homes were registered with NHBC in Q1 2021 — up from 33,388 during the same period last year.

The data also showed a 4% rise in the number of new home completions during this period, reaching 33,074.

Private sector registrations rose by 10% compared to Q1 2020, while the rental sector saw registrations grow by 13%.

Nine out of 12 UK regions saw a boost in registrations in Q1 2021 compared to Q1 2020, with the highest uplifts in the North East (+61%), East (+42%) and South West (+31%), while London (-29%), West Midlands (-21%) and Wales (-14%) witnessed a fall.

Steve Wood, chief executive at NHBC, commented: “It is encouraging to see that new home registrations at the start of 2021 have overtaken registrations from the same time last year.

“Increased new home registrations reflect growing confidence among builders, most of whom are forward sold through the summer. 

“Allied to continued investment in BTR, this suggests a strong outlook for the new-build sector in the year ahead.”

John Doughty, financial services director of the new-build division at Just Mortgages, said that the rise in both new-build home registrations and completions reflected the mortgage activity in the new-build space, which had been boosted by the stamp duty holiday, Help to Buy and people’s desire for more space.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, we have seen a rise in mortgage enquiries for houses, [rather] than for flats,” he added.

“More people want a larger property for home working purposes and an outside garden area for relaxation and exercise.”

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