House-building levels reach new highs

The number of new homes built in England in the last 12 months reached the highest level in almost six years, according to new Government figures.

The new data, released by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), shows that 125,110 homes were completed between April 2014 and March 2015. This is an 11% increase on the previous year and represents the highest amount of completions since 2009-2010, when 119,910 new homes were completed.

The three months to March 2015 represent the most successful quarter of the year, with 34,040 completions in this period.

Speaking on May 21, Brandon Lewis, minister of state for housing and planning at DCLG, said: “House-building is at the heart of our plan to ensure the recovery reaches all parts of our country. We’re turning around an industry that was devastated and getting the country building again.

“Today’s figures show these efforts are reaping results, with house-building completions at their highest for nearly 6 years.

“It is vital we maintain this momentum, getting workers back on sites and homes built – giving more people the chance to own their own home.”

Housing starts were also up, with construction beginning on 140,500 new homes in the 12-month period – 5% higher than during the previous year. The most recent quarter also proved to be the strongest, with over 40,000 homes started between January and March this year. This is 31% higher than the previous quarter, and 136% higher than the March quarter in 2009.

Despite the growing number of houses being completed, and the pipeline of work growing under rising housing starts, the new figures remain far below the 240,000 new homes that experts have estimated are needed to meet demand.

However, recent research  has shown that many house-builders believe this goal is unachievable under current market conditions.

Following a General Election campaign that saw housing policy pushed to the political forefront, the Government will be expected to keep these figures rising. According to DCLG, its track record of delivering thousands of new homes through Help to Buy and reforming the planning system has already boosted housing, and with plans for 275,000 affordable homes by 2020, David Cameron’s Government is hoping to lead the fastest rate of affordable house-building for two decades.

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