State of Play report

The SME State of Play report has found that planning continues to be a major barrier to growth for Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) housebuilders, with 93% stating that securing planning permission remained challenging.

The SME State of Play report is a comprehensive survey of SME housebuilders, conducted by the Home Builders Federation (HBF), Close Brothers Property Finance and NaCSBA member Travis Perkins.

The fourth edition of the 2023/24 report, published in January 2024, received responses from 305 SME home building companies to provide a composite overview of the challenges facing these companies.

The results show:

  • 93% of SMEs cite delays in securing planning permission as a major barrier to growth.
  • 91% find that planning departments in local authorities are under-resourced to the point where this hinders activity.
  • 46% of SME developers report an increase of over 30% over the last three years in regards to the cost of obtaining planning permission. This does not factor in December’s planning application fee rise.
  • 72% said that interest rate rises have been a major obstacle.
  • The number of companies that think the government’s approach on housing and planning was positive for first time buyers was down to 13%, from 39% in 2022.

Read the SME State of Play report

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