Housebuilding rates failing to meet government targets

The number of new build homes started and completed continues to fall below government targets, according to new figures published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. 

According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the new build dwellings figures should be regarded as a leading indicator of overall housing supply.

Today’s figures show that:

• Annual new build dwelling starts totalled 157,550 in the year to September 2019, a 7 per cent decrease compared to the year to September 2018. During the same period, completions totaled 177,980,an increase of 9 per cent compared with last year.

• On a quarterly basis, new build dwelling starts in England were estimated at 39,510 (seasonally adjusted) in the latest quarter,a 2 per cent increase compared to the previous three months and an 11 per cent increase on a year earlier. Completions were estimated at 46,000 (seasonally adjusted), a 2 per cent increase from the previous quarter and 11 per cent higher than a year ago.

• Private enterprise new build dwelling starts (seasonally adjusted) in the September quarter 2019 are up by 3 per cent on the previous quarter, and completions are up by 5 per cent. Starts by housing associations are 4 per cent lower compared to the last quarter, and completions down by 14 per cent.

Clive Docwra, Managing Director of leading construction consulting and design agency McBains, says: “The government has set a target of delivering a million homes in the next five years, yet today’s figures show that the construction industry is way off meeting those rates on current trends.

“Annual new build starts in the year to September 2019 saw a decrease of 7 per cent on the previous year, and while completions totalled close to 178,000, we need to be building more than 200,000 homes each year to meet the government’s ambitions.

“Last month’s Queen’s Speech contained lots of detail on demand-side measures – such as first-time buyers being offered a discount on purchases – but nothing on the supply side. The government needs to set out how it intends to boost housebuilding and increase the supply of new homes needed to tackle the housing crisis, such as freeing up more land to build and cutting red tape on planning.”