More new homes – but still not enough and mostly the wrong kind

“New home starts in the past year have reached their highest level since the slump of 2009, according to housebuilding statistics issued by the Department for Communities & Local Government.

It said there were 164,960 homes started in the year to June 2017, an increase of 13% on the previous year.

More than 153,000 homes were completed during the same period, 11% ahead of the June 2016 figure.

But housing starts in England decreased by 3% to 41,180 in the latest quarter, compared to the previous quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis, though that was a 10% increase on the position a year earlier.

Seasonally adjusted completions were estimated at 40,310, which was 2% higher than the previous quarter and 15% higher than a year ago.

Private builders’ contributions to the totals were unchanged for both starts and completions against the previous quarter.

Housing association starts were 19% lower at 5,280 compared to the previous quarter, though completions were up by 17% to 7,200.

Local authorities starts were down by 3% at 320 but completions were up by 2% to 380.

DCLG said starts of all kinds were now 141% above the low point of March 2009 and only 16% below their March 2007 peak.

These figures, however, remain far adrift of the 225,000 to 275,000 new homes a year which the government said was needed to meet demand in its February housing white paper Fixing Our Broken Housing Market.

Completions remain though far behind the peak hit in 1968 of 352,540 homes.

Housing and planning minister Alok Sharma said: “Building more homes is an absolute priority for this government. Today’s figures are proof that we are getting Britain building again, with new housing starts reaching record levels since 2009.”

Housing charity Shelter’s director Polly Neate said: “While there has been a small increase in homes being built, sadly we’re nowhere near touching distance of the 250,000 homes a year we desperately need.

“It’s also extremely worrying to see housebuilders shifting down a gear and starting to build even fewer homes, when millions of families are struggling and in urgent need of an affordable home.”

http://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2017/08/housebuilding-starts-reach-eight-year-high-says-dclg

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