Housing Supply: 2015-16 net additional dwellings

The 2015-16 Statistical Release on net additional dwellings in England, published on the 15th November shows an 11% increase

This report indicates the net change in dwelling stock in England between 1st April and 31st March the following year.

The dwellings concerned are the primary and most comprehensive means of measuring housing supply. The figures are based from estimates of local authorities on gains and losses which have occurred throughout the year.

A recent peak in net additional dwellings occurred in 2007-08, where numbers reached 223,530. With the economic downturn in 2012-13, figures then fell to 124,720. Net additions have since increased to 189,650 in 2015-16, which is a rise of 11% from the previous year. In comparison with the 2007-08 peak, the most recent level is 15% lower.

Net additional dwellings comprise of different elements and the annual dwelling stock can therefore be broken down.

These are:

  • New house building completions
  • Losses of gains through a conversion
  • Change of use
  • Demolition
  • Various other changes e.g. caravans, houseboats etc.

The largest component was new build completions which accounted for 86% of the net change in 2015-16 or 163,940 in real terms. The second largest element is ‘change of use’ with a 30,600 gain in dwellings which represents 16% of the net change. Conversions made up 3% of the net change with an additional 4,760 dwellings as well as 780 other gains making up 0.4% of the net change. A loss of 10,240 dwellings and a -5% reduction in the net change was the result of demolitions.

In 2015/16, the net additions from change of use rose by 9,950 or by 48% on the previous year. This enables buildings to be changed for residential use, mirroring the ‘permitted development right’ amendments. Completions of new builds rose by 6% or 8,860.

New figures were collected for 2015-16 on dwellings from change of use under permitted development rights. As a result of the change of use, the 30,600 extra homes included 13,879 permitted development rights. 12,824 of the dwellings changed from office to residential use, 226 went from agricultural or forestry to residential, 55 shifted from storage to residential, 645 went from anything else to residential and the final 129 changed from unspecified to residential.

Net addition levels

The rate of net additions are net additions per 1000 dwellings. For 2015-16, high rates were evident in areas of Somerset, Gloucestershire and Devon, as well as beyond London’s Green Belt into Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Norfolk and Oxfordshire.

The top three net addition rates were located in Cherwell, Dartford and Tower Hamlets, whilst other high levels were found in Ashford, Horsham, the Vale of White Horse and North West Leicestershire.

For London, there was a varied picture, as although the capital displayed five of the highest net addition levels, it also had four which fell into the bottom 40.

Other areas with low net addition rates were scattered; Bexley, Cannock Chase and Sefton possessed the lowest three rates per 1000 of the home supply. These may have largely been due to the medium build levels paired with a high amount of demolitions.

In 195 out of 326 authorities the level of changes in net additional dwellings between 2014-15 and 2015-16 rose. Geographically speaking, the locations where increases and decreases occurred was varies, with 21 from 33 London Boroughs presenting some kind of increase, whilst the remainder had decreases.

Separate data is compiled in regards to communal accommodation additions and losses. As communal accommodation does not provide self-contained household spaces, it is set apart from the main net additions figures. Student and other cluster flats are however, currently included within the main data set. Cluster flats usually possess numerous bedrooms with shared living and cooking spaces, behind lockable doors. This differs to communal accommodation, which will consist of individual bedrooms which share communal facilities such as a lounge or refectory.

Communal accommodation data is split into ‘student’ and ‘other’. ‘Other’ encompasses locations such as hostels and care homes, where rooms are arranged along corridors and possess communal dining or sitting rooms.

For student accommodation in 2015-16, the net increase was 3,040. For ‘other’ communal accommodation, the net increase was 920, meaning the overall net growth was 3,960.

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