Seven-year peak in new-build homes

p24976UK-News-7-1

Published: Thursday 19th February 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

More new-build homes were started across England in 2014 than in any other year since 2007, according to Government figures.

Building started on 137,010 new homes last year, marking a 10% increase on 2013 and the highest annual total since 2007, while at the same time 118,760 homes were completed.

But campaigners said that the number of homes being built is still around half of the amount needed to cope with the levels of demand across the country – and warned that the failure of successive governments to get to grips with the country’s housing crisis will be felt by generations to come.

Within the building figures for 2014, p rivate enterprise starts were up by 13% compared with the previous year, while housing association starts decreased by 10% compared with a year before.

Some building hotspots were also identified, with particularly strong areas of new build starts stemming from the M1 corridor and west toward South Gloucestershire and Cornwall, as well as along the south coast.

Areas north of the London green belt in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire have been experiencing relatively high levels of starts, the report, released by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), said.

Some of the greatest increases in starts levels were in districts in Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Lancashire, and parts of Essex, while areas with some of the largest falls in rates of house building starts included parts of Hampshire and Surrey.

House building starts were strongly affected by the economic downturn and from early 2008 there was a period of rapid decline, which reached a trough in spring 2009.

While the 137,010 homes that were started in the 12 months to December last year is still 25% below a peak which was reached in the year to December 2007, it also represents a significant 82% increase when compared with a low point in the 12 months to June 2009.

The Government pointed to various efforts it has been making to get the housing industry “back on its legs” including helping more people onto the property ladder with its Help to Buy schemes, investing to bring empty properties back into use, reforming the planning system and building more affordable homes.

But Campbell Robb, chief executive of housing charity Shelter, said: “While a small increase in the number of homes built might be heralded as a success, the real story here is the shocking fact that we’re building just half the homes we need in England.

“For years, successive governments have consistently failed to build enough homes to keep up with demand, leaving a whole generation of young people trapped in their childhood bedrooms or paying dead money to landlords while their dream of a stable future slips out of reach.”

Mr Robb said that schemes like Help to Buy are “only papering over the cracks”.

He said that with a general election approaching, it is time for politicians to commit to stronger action.

Henry Gregg, assistant director of campaigns and communications at the National Housing Federation, described the figures as ” a damning indictment of our failure to tackle the housing crisis”.

He continued: “We’re creating a housing shortage that will be felt for generations to come.”

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said the figures are proof that the Government is turning the situation around.

He said: “We inherited a broken housing market in which builders couldn’t build, lenders wouldn’t lend and buyers couldn’t buy. We’ve done a lot to help get the housing industry back on its legs, but there’s more to do.

“Today’s figures show we’re on track and turning this around. Now, housebuilding levels are at their highest annual total since 2007.”

Published: Thursday 19th February 2015 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Local business search