October 3, 2019 1:59:32 PM
The number of new build homes started in England fell by 8% during April to June when compared with the same period a year earlier, Government figures show.
An estimated 37,220 new homes were started in the latest quarter, which was a 2% decrease on the previous three months as well as an 8% fall compared with a year earlier, according to data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
However, the number of new build homes which were completed in the latest quarter was up by 11% on a year earlier.
Completions were estimated at 45,190 – which was also a 4% increase from the previous quarter.
Across the 12 months to June, 160,640 new homes were started – a 1% decrease compared with the year to June 2018.
During the same period, completions totalled 173,660 – an 8% increase compared with a year earlier.
The MHCLG said the annual figure of 173,660 represents an 11-year high for completions.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “We are moving in the right direction, but there is still much more to do if we are going to deliver the numbers needed by communities up and down the country.
“I’m determined to deliver homes that are high-quality, well designed and good for the planet.
“Faster and simpler planning regulations will help us reach that goal, which is why I have announced measures to accelerate planning decisions for homes and reduce the use of unnecessary conditions by up to a third, freeing up developers so they can get on and build in a locally appropriate way.”
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter said: “These house building figures show there is an almighty gap between the Government’s 300,000 homes a year target and reality.
“It’s clear the private market alone will never deliver the number or type of homes we need – so the best chance the Government has of catching up with its target is to build social homes – the last time we built over 300,000 new homes was in 1969 when almost half was social housing delivered by councils and housing associations.”
The report said there have recently been relatively high rates of new build starts in local authorities stretching from west of the London commuter belt across the Midlands to East Anglia.
Areas with high rates of new build homes being started include Harborough, Eastleigh and South Derbyshire.
Within London the picture has been more mixed, with some of the biggest increases and decreases in new build starts in recent months being in the capital, the report said.
The number of new homes being started reached a peak in 2007 but later fell sharply during the financial downturn.
Since then, there have been periods of growth in new home starts as well as some levelling off.
The report said the number of new homes being started in the latest quarter was 117% above a trough reached in 2009 – but still 24% below a house building peak reached in 2007.
The number of completions in the latest quarter was 79% above a low point in 2013 and 7% below its 2007 peak.
Vice chairman of the District Councils’ Network, Tom Beattie, said the Government should allow local authorities to take more action by reforming Right to Buy and introducing more intervention rights for councils.
Mr Beattie said: “All councils just want to get on and build homes people need.”