CMA Investigates Housebuilding Industry, Cites Planning System Bottlenecks

CMA Investigates Housebuilding Industry, Cites Planning System Bottlenecks

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has initiated an investigation into the housebuilding industry, uncovering potential evidence of "information sharing" that may be impacting site development and housing prices. While the CMA does not believe this is a primary cause of market issues, it emphasizes the importance of adherence to competition law and has launched a Competition Act investigation.

However, the CMA has cautioned that no conclusions have been reached regarding legal violations. Representatives from Bellway and Redrow have expressed their cooperation and engagement with the CMA throughout its market study and continue to support the investigation.

The CMA's broader report delves into the shortfall of home construction in England, Wales, and Scotland. Falling short of the targeted 300,000 homes in England, the UK built less than 250,000 homes last year. A major roadblock identified by the CMA is the complex and unpredictable planning system. Navigation through the planning process can be lengthy, with under-resourced planning departments struggling to maintain up-to-date local plans and lacking clear goals for housing delivery.

The CMA proposes recommendations to streamline the planning system and implement other measures to expedite home construction and enhance affordability. However, the report acknowledges that additional steps may be necessary to meet the nation's housing needs in suitable locations.