Housebuilding output highest since 2008 peak
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Development
There were 29,510 new homes started in England between April and June this year - a 6% rise on the previous quarter, official figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government have revealed.
The second quarter's output is a third higher than the same time last year, while seasonally adjusted private enterprise completions increased by 11%.
The rise was seen across the country, with 178 of England's 326 councils reporting an increase in housebuilding starts over the year.
The output represents the highest performance since 2008's peak. A total of 334,000 new homes have been built in England over the past 3 years.
And according to the figures, there have been over 10,000 reservations for newly-built homes in the first four months of the government’s Help to Buy scheme.
Communities minister Brandon Lewis said: "Under the last administration, housebuilding fell to its lowest peacetime rate since the 1920s. But today’s figures clearly show government action is bringing confidence back into the housing market and getting Britain building again, with starts increasing by a third year-on-year.
"We’ve already delivered over 330,000 new homes over the past 3 years, and 150,000 affordable homes. There is more to do, but today’s figures reinforce the momentum towards getting Britain building again."
However, the Confederation of British Industry has warned that output is still 40% below the March quarter 2007 peak.
Rhian Kelly, CBI director for business environment policy, said: “These are early signs of a pick-up but we need to put it in perspective. We’ve been falling woefully short of building the homes we need for decades. There’s huge pent-up demand which is just not being met – from first-time buyers and from second-steppers looking to get on the next rung of the ladder.
“Help to Buy is a bold move to make mortgages more affordable but it’s only one part of the jigsaw. We need a planning system which gets new properties built quickly; more investment in affordable homes now, not after the next election; and a stronger private rental market.”
Abigail Davies, assistant director of policy and practice at the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “Completions dropped to 106,820 in the year to June at the same time as prices rose by 3.3%. These are not signs of a well-functioning housing market.
"To provide what current households, new households and our wider economy need, the government must deliver long term price stability and a massive increase in the number of new homes being built. Earlier this week ONS figures showed prices paid by first time buyers are rising faster than those paid by existing owners, and we remain concerned about the impact of the Help to Buy scheme.
"The second phase is due to get underway in January and the government will need to monitor it very carefully indeed to make sure it is not simply stoking up prices - if you stimulate demand without also stimulating supply, there’s going to be a problem.”