Factors affecting housing build-out rates

This research investigated how speculative housebuilders determine the speed at which approved housing sites are developed. It found that where competition for land is intense, housebuilders must assume the highest possible sale prices to make winning bids for sites. Such bids are viable only because the release of land is restricted by the planning system, while the release of homes is managed on a site-by-site basis by builders to achieve the target sales rates underpinning earlier land bids. These factors have combined to encourage caution about the capacity of local housing markets to ‘absorb’ new-build supply. Even if the planning system released substantially more land, it may take some time before housebuilders responded by building out faster. While the research predates the collapse in speculative housebuilding from late 2008, the findings are likely still to be valid once confidence returns to owner-occupied housing sector.


  • David Adams
  • Rob Croudace
  • Chris Leishman 
  • Craig Moore


January to March 2008


UK Department for Communities and Local Government


Adams, D. & Leishman, C. (2008), Factors Affecting Build Out Rates, Department for Communities and Local Government, London. Available from:

Adams, D., Leishman, C., & Moore, C. (2009), Why not build faster? Explaining the speed at which British housebuilders develop new homes for owner occupation, Town Planning Review, 80, 3, pp. 291-314.
DOI: 10.3828/tpr.80.3.4
Available at: http://liverpool.metapress.com/content/l0383516k5546387/