Reading: Savills comments on COVID-19 impact on housing

The coronavirus pandemic will affect all aspects of the UK housing market. Savills considers the impact it is likely to have on housing delivery and land supply, both in terms of activity over the coming months and the longer-term implications for the flow of land through the development pipeline.

Phil Brown, head of office at Savills Reading, said: “We are in the early stages of adjusting to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, both in terms of our personal and professional lives. Housing delivery, land supply and the operation of the planning system have all been affected as explored in this note. That said, we think that the outlook in the Thames Valley remains positive and Savills Reading remains busy progressing projects for clients throughout the region.

Ed Keeling, head of development, added: “Clearly we are entering an uncertain stage of the market across all specialisms, yet there is reason for optimism short and long term for our region. The Thames Valley development market has, and always will be, one of the strongest in the country, and we anticipate prices should only suffer minor dips before recovering later this year. Longer term confidence was displayed earlier this month when our regional development team completed on three significant land agreements amassing to planning permissions for 654 dwellings.”

And Rebecca McAllister, head of planning, commented: “Local planning authorities are having to adapt quickly to the changed circumstances arising from the coronavirus. Although planning permissions continue to be granted, the biggest impacts are in relation to those planning applications that have to be determined by a planning committee, restrictions on Local Plan Examination Hearings and restrictions on Planning Appeals. Regarding longer term impacts, as work ceases on construction sites this will affect housing delivery and will make it more difficult for local authorities to comply with the Housing Delivery Test.”