Housing starts uplift gets Britain building again

Aaron Morby 11 years ago
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The Government today released a flurry of better house building figures and claimed its policies have succeeded in getting Britain building again.

Housing start returns jumped 8% to 32,230 between July and September, compared to the previous quarter, the fastest rate of building since the crash.

The improvement came most from a 10% rise in private house building driven by Help to Buy, although public housing crept up 2%, mainly because of a surge in London homes.

Construction of new homes for the 12 months ending September 2013 reached 117,110, 16% up on the same period last year.

House building hotspots include Hammersmith and Fulham in London, where several major apartment projects are underway, Southampton, Cambridge and East Devon.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said: “Today’s figures show we’re building at the fastest rate since the crash in 2008, more people are securing a place on the housing ladder, and we’re delivering tens of thousands of affordable homes across the whole country.

“But there’s still more to do, and improving the housing market will remain a top priority. That means getting builders back on site, delivering new housing, more jobs and ensuring every hard working family has a place they can call home.”

The minister said he was reassured improvements across the housing market are delivering progress across the whole country.

Fresh housing figures show the highest number of Help to Buy sales were in Leeds, Wiltshire, Milton Keynes and Reading.

Just over 18,050 reservations have now been made in the first seven months of the Help to Buy: Equity Loan and 2,000 offers were made in the first month of the Help to Buy: Mortagage Guarantee which began in October.

Mark Clare, Chief Executive of Barratt said: “If we can sell homes more quickly we can build more quickly and we are rapidly increasing production.  We now have the confidence to target the construction of 45,000 homes over the next three years and we are investing in land and bringing it through planning to meet increased demand.

“We are also expanding the business by taking on 600 new apprentices and graduates to tackle the skills shortage that could constrain future growth.”

Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the HBF, said: “As a result of this increase in activity, the industry is recruiting significant amounts of people. The supply chain is also gearing up to meet the increased level of demand, generating an economic boost the length and breadth of the country”

But the starts still fall woefully short of the 230,000 new homes needed to start to tackle the housing crisis.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS Chief Economist, said: Although this is an encouraging development it will, however, still leave the number of starts below the required level and, as such, make little inroad on the overall shortfall in housing.

“As a result, there remains a strong case for further innovative measures to be introduced to deliver more homes, covering not just the private sector but also the affordable segment where new starts actually fell between the second and third quarters.”

While housing completions rose by 5% 28,850 in the third quarter, annual housing completions in England actually fell 8% to 107,950 in the 12 months to September 2013.

New figures from the Homes and Communities Agency showed affordable home starts between April and September fell just shy of 13,000. Despite a fall between the second and third quarter, this was more than triple the 3,722 in same six months in 2012.

Almost a quarter of these starts were in London, where construction of new affordable homes jumped seven-fold compared to the same period last year.

Cornwall, Wiltshire, Lewisham and Hackney delivered the most affordable homes in 2012-13.

 

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