The Office of Fair Trading has ruled out forcing a shake-up of the planning system as part of its investigation into the UK housing market.

The OFT, which is investigating poor rates of customer satisfaction and the industry’s rate of output, said it considered the planning system outside the scope of its inquiry.

Simon Nicholls, senior team leader for the OFT, said: “We’ve refined the scope of the study, and we now won’t be looking at the planning system in detail.” He added that the decision had been taken to avoid duplication of other government inquiries and legislation in this area.

Nicholls said the OFT inquiry would focus on three issues: local competition between housebuilders, housebuilders’ attitude to risk, and what constraints there are on expanding housebuilders' businesses.

The OFT has also commissioned consultant KPMG to do a detailed study of the financing models of housebuilders, as part of the analysis of their attitude to risk. Nicholls said: “It will look at large, medium and small housebuilders to see what constraints they may face in financing.”