Housing completions across England drop by 9%
The number of home builds completed across England fell by 9% in the first three months of 2016, according to Government figures.
Some 32,950 housing completions were recorded between January and March, marking a 9% fall compared with the previous quarter and 3% lower than a year ago, according to data released by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
Within the total, private enterprise house building completions were down by 7% and housing association completions were down by 24% on the previous quarter.
Some 35,530 new homes were started between January and March, edging down by 3% on the previous quarter and 9% down on a year earlier.
The DCLG report said completion levels are particularly high in a band starting to the north of the London green belt and running through Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire.
There are also strong levels from Devon through Gloucestershire. Areas with the lowest completion rates include Kingston upon Thames, Wirral and Gravesham, it said.
Housing starts are now 107% above a trough in 2009 but 27% below a peak reached in 2007. Completions are a third (33%) above a trough in 2013 and 32% below a 2007 peak.
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: "T hese figures show one of the biggest quarterly falls in the number of homes built that we've seen for a decade. We're still only building a little over half the homes we need each year."
The DCLG said 139,690 new homes were completed in the year to March, marking a rise of 12% on the previous year.
During the same period, housing starts totalled 139,680, up by 1% compared with a year earlier.
Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis said: " We've got the country building again and are seeing our housebuilding efforts paying off with this considerable increase in the number of homes built in just one year."