CMA launches probe into housebuilders over ‘suspected sharing of commercially sensitive information’


THE Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has found ‘fundamental concerns’ in the British housebuilding market and launched an investigation into eight housebuilders ‘following evidence suggesting information sharing’.

The CMA has published its final report on the housebuilding market following its study in England, Scotland, and Wales which found that the ‘complex and unpredictable planning system’, together with the limitations of speculative private development, is responsible for the ‘persistent under delivery of new homes’.

The study also found concerns about estate management charges – with homeowners often facing ‘high and unclear’ charges for the management of facilities such as roads, drainage, and green spaces. Concerns have also been found with the quality of some new housing after the number of owners reporting snagging issues increased over the last 10 years.

Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA, said, “Housebuilding in Great Britain needs significant intervention so that enough good quality homes are delivered in the places that people need them.

“Our report – which follows a year-long study – is recommending a streamlining of the planning system and increased consumer protections. If implemented, we would expect to see many more homes built each year, helping make homes more affordable. We would also expect to see fewer people paying estate management charges on new estates and the quality of new homes to increase. But even then, further action may be required to deliver the number of homes Great Britain needs in the places it needs them.

“The CMA has also today opened a new investigation into the suspected sharing of commercially sensitive information by housebuilders which could be influencing the build-out of sites and the prices of new homes. While this issue is not one of the main drivers of the problems we’ve highlighted in our report, it is important we tackle anti-competitive behaviour if we find it.”

The CMA has launched an investigation under the Competition Act 1998 into Barratt, Bellway, Berkeley, Bloor Homes, Persimmon, Redrow, Taylor Wimpey, and Vistry. The CMA said it has not reached any conclusions at this stage as to whether or not competition law has been infringed.