The number of new homes being started in England fell by 14% in the second quarter of 2015, with the Conservative Government’s first full quarter in power seeing house-building levels struggle.
Official figures from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) show construction began on 33,280 new homes in the quarter to June 2015 compared to 38,860 that went underway in the first three months of the year. This decrease follows a 29% in Q1 2015 compared to the final quarter of 2014.
Despite Government pledges throughout this year’s General Election campaign to get Britain building, the latest figures means the rate of house-building in England remains 32% lower than the peak of Q1 2007. However, it does remain almost double the trough rate reached in Q1 2009, showing there has been substantial recovery since the worst period of the recession.
There was little change annually, with the 136,320 starts in the 12 months to June 2015 being only 1% lower than the previous year, according to DCLG’s figures.
The number of new homes completed in England saw more positive rates of growth, with 35,640 completions in the second quarter. This was slightly higher than the previous quarter and 22% higher than Q2 2014.
Annual completions also showed better levels of growth than starts, with the 131,060 homes finished in the 12 months to June 2015 being 15% higher than completions in the previous year.
Commenting on the Government figures, Brandon Lewis, minister of state for housing and planning at DCLG, said: “Our One Nation Government has got the country building again with today’s [August 20] figures showing that 131,060 extra homes have been built in the past year. This has provided a real boost to the UK’s construction industry and is delivering the homes that hard-working people rightly deserve.”
Despite this positivity, house-building completions remained well below the peak of 2007, when 176,640 homes were completed in the 12 months to December.
England’s residential construction also remains well below the figures needed to tackle the country’s housing crisis, with experts claiming that around 240,000 new homes are needed a year in the UK to meet demand.