On Monday (26 February 2024) the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) published its report into the UK Housebuilding market, setting out the findings and conclusions of its market study commenced in February 2023.

Although one of the front-page headlines coming out of the CMA’s study is its decision to investigate eight of the UK’s leading housebuilders for “sharing commercially sensitive information with their competitors which could be influencing the build-out of sites and the prices of new homes”, the CMA’s report considers the issues facing the supply and delivery of housing and makes a number of recommendations to Government.

Alongside the “speculative approach” to building, a perceived lack of quality of housing, private estate management and land banking, a key finding from the CMA’s study is the impact of the planning system on the delivery of housing.  Although the CMA has made no clear recommendations to Government to address these issues, it has identified a number of options to consider to reform the system.

With an election expected in 2024, housing – as ever – is likely to receive attention in each of the political parties’ manifestos and the extent to which the recommendations of the CMA are adopted will be something to watch.  Moreover, issues with the planning system and the impact it is having on housing delivery is nothing new, but it will be interesting to see whether the findings by the CMA, itself a body of Government, will have any more traction.