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Housing starts climb to 8-year high

Written by: Victoria Hartley
House building starts rose to nearly 40,000 in England in the third quarter, which is a 10% uplift on last year.

House building starts rose to nearly 40,000 in England in Q3, which is a 10% uplift on last year.

With 38,730 in the latest quarter, this is a 6% increase quarter-on-quarter, with completions estimated at a little less 37,280.

All starts are now 126% above the trough in the March quarter 2009 but 21%, below the March 2007 peak. All completions are 48% above the trough in the March quarter 2013 but still 23% below their March quarter 2007 peak.

In yesterday’s Autumn Statement, the government set out £7.2bn of housing investment, which it said ‘effectively doubled’ annual capital spending on housing over the course of the Parliament.

This includes a housing infrastructure fund of £2.3bn to potentially deliver up to 100,000 homes alongside £1.4bn for affordable house builds by 2020/21. Chancellor Philip Hammond also announced £2bn funding to pilot accelerated construction to speed up building on public sector land and another £1.8bn of extra spending by housing associations was found from other sources.

The government also confirmed it would explore ways to increase housing supply and rising costs in a housing white paper.

In the last 12 months, 141,550 houses were built, which is an increase of 4% on the previous year.

However, figures released last week showed a 52% fall in affordable homes built at 32,110 in England in 2015-16 – the lowest since the early 90s.

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, said: “Yesterday’s promising Autumn Statement showed that this government is moving in the right direction by investing in more homes. But even more important than the numbers is ensuring that these homes are genuinely affordable to people on low incomes and those ‘just about managing’.

“The forthcoming white paper now presents the government with an opportunity to go even further and replace our broken housebuilding system with one that produces more homes people across the country can actually afford to rent or buy.”

Stephen Smith, director, Legal & General Housing Partnerships, said: “It is encouraging to see an increase in the number of affordable new homes being built across the UK. This, coupled with the pledges Chancellor Philip Hammond made yesterday, suggests that the future looks brighter for the housing market.”

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