From The Guardian:
The government wants to build 1m new homes in England by 2020. This would mean building 200,000 a year, but the existing construction levels of just over 150,000 are well behind that.
Despite the fact the nine listed housebuilders hold more than 600,000 housing plots, they sold just 66,881 homes between them in their last financial year.
The annual figure of 150,000 is not unduly low by historic standards, the average since 1945 is about 160,000 private sector completions. The years when annual completions were nearer 300,000 was because of council house building.
What is interesting is comparing what their PR people say to the media with what they say to shareholders in their annual reports:
Taylor Wimpey also pinpointed the “slow and complex” planning process and said all sides of the housing debate needed to be patient if more homes were to be built. A spokesman said… "Whilst it is improving, the planning process is slow and complex and a number of conditions need to be fulfilled before development can commence on our sites. A shortage of resources in planning departments also often means that delays occur in this process."
Ho hum. From their 2015 interim report (download from here):
Land bank - movements in period
Brought forward +75,136
Plots acquired +3,620
Strategic land conversions* +5,666
Land sales -297
Scope changes -655
Balance at end of period =77,372
Detailed planning +45,787
Outline planning +22,508
Resolution to grant +9,077
So in their accounts they boast that they have enough land with planning for about six years' construction.
* The land bank figures only include land with planning. It does not include 'strategic land' which they bought on spec; in this period they managed to obtain planning for 5,666 plots of 'strategic land' which is transferred to their official land bank.
To cut a long story short, TW have no interest in getting planning any faster, their profit maximising output level is whatever it is and there is no incentive to build more; in turn, there is no point in getting planning permission for land which they have no intention of using for the next seven or eight years.