Broadband News

2020 delivered lowest number of new homes for years

  • Wednesday, February 24, 2021 10:32 AM

One of our ongoing tasks is to track what sort of broadband is available to new homes and we have completed that job for 2020 up to and including October 2020. The broadband specific figures will be shared another day, what we want to highlight is the impact of the pandemic on new property volume.

Chart of annual UK property construction
Chart of annual new build volumes since 2012 up to October 2020

The chart illustrates things very clearly, the 92,396 properties we have found for the 10 months of 2020 processed so far is massively below 2012 which saw 128,003 premises built. Even if we extrapolate the 10 months to cover 12 months of 2020 we still have a much lower figure of 110,874 premises. 

For those who prefer raw figures to charts:

  • UK 2020 premises (Jan to Oct) 92,396
  • UK 2019 201,939 
  • UK 2018 218,953
  • UK 2017 169,656
  • UK 2016 187,168
  • UK 2015 169,160
  • UK 2014 146,926
  • UK 2013 128,260
  • UK 2012 128,003

The raw postcodes for Nov and Dec 2020 are something we should start processing shortly, along with January 2021 but we are not expecting a massive surge in the numbers.

The reason for the collapse in property development is obvious, the pandemic and measures to protect the population. The big question now is many more quarters will the build volume be lower than usual.

The small amount of new home building is likely to have on going impacts for the economy, especially if the usual laws of supply and demand are followed, i.e. those with a property are likely to see the value increase but unless moving to a cheaper part of the UK this is usually negated by other property prices rising. Also with property development being labour intensive it does keep a lot of people working and the knock on effects in the supply chain for the many components that go into a new home.

The area of most concern will be the affordable and starter home sector where people are looking to buy their first home, since if there is limited supply and prices increase that first step on the housing ladder will be harder.

Broadband surveys often promote that the public is willing to pay more for a home with better broadband, but for brand new homes our data will show with 88% of new homes in 2020 having FTTP as standard the price premium in new builds may be less than in the past. Additionally as FTTP roll-outs to older housing stock increase, the uniqueness of the gold standard that is FTTP is going to be less. For those who invested in fibre on demand or other self funded FTTP roll-outs the watering down of the advantage of having FTTP is not going to be popular.


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