Housebuilders blame National Grid for stalling completion of 15,000 new homes

Knight Frank survey reveals ‘major problems’ with power supplies for connecting to new homes while eight out of 10 housebuilders are hoping Labour wins the looming General Election.

A surveyor in hard hat and yellow high vis jacket is pictured with his equipment on a building site for new homes

A lack of power capacity in the National Grid is affecting around 15,000 new homes, with housebuilders reporting “major problems” from utility firms failing to deliver connections in a timely manner, the latest Knight Frank Land Index & Housebuilder Survey reveals.

And eight out of 10 (80%) house builders say they would prefer a Labour government following the next General Election.


But the survey revealed a divide between housebuilders and developers based in London versus those operating in the regions.

Those in the Capital feel housing delivery is being hindered by unrealistic affordable housing targets that often makes schemes unviable, alongside significant delays in the GLA planning system.

Current policy, they said, is standing in the way of housing delivery but their confidence would grow if their concerns were addressed.


Elsewhere, the survey reveals a recovery in buyer interest and land purchasing activity in early 2024.

Knight Frank says that greater stability in the housing market so far this year has resulted in sentiment in the land market starting to improve.

The firm asked housebuilders how they would describe the current state of the land market, in terms of availability for development. A quarter (25%) of housebuilders cited supply as adequate, the highest proportion to date, suggesting improved conditions for land acquisitions and future development pipelines.

Adding to the positive outlook, 65% of respondents surveyed anticipated stable land prices in Q2 amid rising demand.

Graph from Knight Frank showing residential development land prices.

Half (50%) of housebuilders have also sold or plan to sell units into the build-to-rent sector, up from 40% in Q4 2023.

Charlie Hart, Knight Frank
Charlie Hart, Knight Frank

Charlie Hart, Head of Development Land at Knight Frank, says: “In Q1 we have seen more confidence enter the housing market after a period of strain from elevated interest rates and economic uncertainty.

“While it’s important to highlight the positives, it’s equally as essential to highlight the challenges our clients continually face.

“The industry sentiment indicates continued policy reforms are needed, particularly around planning and infrastructure investment priorities. Addressing these concerns will be key for bolstering investor confidence in the long run.”

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