Figures Show Construction New Homes Remains Well Below Whats Needed Solve Supply Shortfall

The latest Government house building figures show that levels of new supply remain far below that needed to hit its ambition of one million homes by 2020.

Overall, 139,030 new homes were built in England in the year to June 2016, an increase of six per cent over the previous year, according to the latest quarterly ONS statistical release from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

Annual housing starts totalled 144,280 in the year to June 2016, which was up 2% on the year to June 2015.

The figures indicate progress is being made, according to the Government.

“We’ve got the country building again with more new homes started and built than this time last year,” said communities secretary Sajid Javid. “This is real progress but there is much more to do. That’s why we are going further and increasing our investment in housebuilding to ensure many more people can benefit.”

Further headline figures in the statistical release include:

* On a quarterly basis, house building starts in England were estimated at 36,400 (seasonally adjusted) in the latest quarter, a 2% increase compared to the previous three months and 6% increase on a year earlier

* Completions were estimated at 34,920 (seasonally adjusted), 7% higher than the previous quarter and 2% lower than a year ago.
Private enterprise housing starts (seasonally adjusted) were 4% higher in the June quarter 2016 than the previous quarter whereas completions were 3% higher

* Starts by housing associations were 6% lower compared to the last quarter and completions 29% higher.

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* All starts are now 112% above the trough in the March quarter 2009 but 26% below the March quarter 2007 peak

* All completions are 39% above the trough in the March quarter 2013 and 28% below their March quarter 2007 peak

Across he country, the figures showed “strong regional growth” according to DCLG, with high levels of completions demonstrated in London, Swindow and Wakefield.

Delivery in London saw 24% more homes being built in the year to June 2016 than the previous year with local authorities in Greenwich and Waltham Forest seeing completions soar 126% and 103% respectively over the same period.

While in Swindon and Wakefield completions were up 104% and 41% respectively.

“Councils and the Government both share the same ambition to build more homes. Bold new action is needed to solve our housing crisis and a renaissance in house building by councils must be at the heart of this,” said Councillor Martin Tett, housing spokesperson at the Local Government Association (LGA).

“We need to be building up to 250,000 a year to tackle our housing crisis. The private sector clearly has an important role to play but these figures only serve to confirm that they cannot build the homes we need on its own, and will likely be further restricted by uncertainties in the months and years ahead.

“Councils want to get on with the job of building the new homes that people in their areas desperately need.

“If we are to stand any chance of solving our housing crisis, councils must be able to replace sold homes and reinvest in building more of the genuine affordable homes our communities desperately need now more than ever.”

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Gavin Smart,, deputy chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing said: “The government’s latest house-building figures confirm there is still a lot to do to meet the level of supply we need. It’s an encouraging sign that the number of new starts is up, but we are still not building anywhere near the homes we need and with every passing quarter the target of a million new homes in the lifetime of this Parliament becomes harder to achieve.

“In recent weeks research has shown us that homeownership is at a 30-year low, private renting is at a 40-year high and homelessness continues to steadily rise.

“The latest house building figures, taken together with research demonstrating the challenges our housing market now faces are the clearest indication that the government must act in the Autumn Statement to make sure more homes are built and the organisations ready to build them are supported.”

Rod Lockhart, managing director of online mortgage lender LendInvest said: “The modest pace of the improvements is a concern. At the current rate, we will fall well short of the Government’s target of one million new homes by 2020, and fail to make inroads into the sharp housing shortage in the UK.

“The onus is on the Government to jumpstart the housebuilding industry. The large housebuilders are not keen to do more, so efforts must be focused on small and medium-sized builders. The rumoured £5bn Home Building Fund is a good start, but finance is not the only area holding these builders back. More has to be done to reduce the complexities of the planning system and open up access to land to build on.”

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