8 year high for housing starts
New figures from DCLG have revealed that housing starts are at their highest level in more than 8 years.
According to the data, quarterly new build dwelling starts in England were estimated at 38,730 – 6% increase compared to the previous 3 months and 10% increase on a year earlier. Housing completions increased by 7% compared with the same quarter a year earlier.
Annual new build dwelling starts totalled 147,880 in the year to September 2016, up by 4% compared with the year to September 2015. During the same period, completions totalled 141,690, an increase of 4% compared with last year.
Private enterprise new build dwelling starts were 8% higher on a quarterly basis and completions were also 8% higher. Starts by housing associations were 5% lower compared to the last quarter and completions 1% higher.
All starts are now 126% above the trough in the March quarter 2009 but 21% below the March quarter 2007 peak. All completions are 48% above the trough in the March quarter 2013 and 23% below their March quarter 2007 peak.
Yesterday’s Autumn Statement detailed investment of over £7.2 billion in housing with the government expecting to double, in real terms, annual capital spending on housing over the course of the current Parliament.
Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “We have been clear that we need to build a lot more homes if we are to achieve a country that works for everyone. That is why we are announcing the biggest dedicated housing investment in a generation to get house building firing on all cylinders.
With a doubling in capital spending, we are injecting the stimulus the market needs for a step change in the number of homes being built in the places people want to live – both in this Parliament and beyond.”
Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell, added: “The government has set out an ambition of creating a country that works for everyone. The Autumn Statement ensures we are taking steps to deliver this by building more of the right homes, in the right places.
We will shortly be setting out further details to increase housing supply and tackle rising housing costs in our Housing White Paper.”
Andy Frankish, New Homes Director at Mortgage Advice Bureau, commented: “The Housebuilding in England report from DCLG released today paints a steady picture of the current house building sector. Modest increases in Q3 on the previous quarter, both in terms of starts and completions, are encouraging, as are the overall year to date starts and completions numbers, which have also seen a slight upturn. These figures suggest that since the Referendum in June, current consumer demand for new homes and construction levels show no signs of abating.
Having said that, despite seeing an overall increase in output, there has been a marginal decrease on Housing Association starts, reflecting the previous Government’s focus on home ownership. Given Chancellor Hammond’s statement yesterday, this is an important element of the housing ecosystem, and we do need to support affordable solutions going forwards. Part of this approach could be to have more lenders on board offering a wider range of affordable products, and it will be interesting to see how the sector evolves going forwards given new levels of Government support.”