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Rise in number of new homes built last year

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Almost 140,000 new homes were completed in the year to June.

The number of newly built homes has increased 6% in the past year, according to new government figures.

The latest house building data shows that 139,030 new homes were completed in the year to June and have continued to build gradually over the last 2 years.

More than 144,280 homes were started in the year to June 2016.

Meanwhile, figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders show there are more first-time buyers than at any time since 2007, with 72,800 in England in the second quarter of 2016.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We’ve got the country building again with more new homes started and built than this time last year.

“This is real progress but there is much more to do. That’s why we are going further and increasing our investment in house building to ensure many more people can benefit.”

Could do better

But some experts argued that the rise wasn’t significant enough. Rod Lockhart, managing director at online mortgage lender LendInvest, said: “The modest pace of the improvements is a concern. At the current rate, we will fall well short of the Government’s target of one million new homes by 2020, and fail to make inroads into the sharp housing shortage in the UK.

“The onus is on the Government to jumpstart the housebuilding industry. The large housebuilders are not keen to do more, so efforts must be focused on small and medium-sized builders. The rumoured £5 billion Home Building Fund is a good start, but finance is not the only area holding these builders back. More has to be done to reduce the complexities of the planning system and open up access to land to build on.”