New-build homes 'hit highest levels since 2007'
The number of new homes being registered across the UK hit its highest levels since 2007 last year, according to an industry body.
Meanwhile, the number of detached homes registered over the past 12 months reached its highest levels in more than a decade - while the number of semi-detached homes registered in 2015 was the highest in more than 20 years, the National House Building Council (NHBC) said.
A total of 156,140 new homes were registered in 2015, marking a 7% increase on 2014 as well as an eight-year high, according to the NHBC's figures.
While the 2015 annual total is still well below the 199,177 new-build homes registered in 2007, it is 75% higher than the 88,993 new homes registered during in 2009.
The NHBC is a warranty and insurance provider. The body's registration figures are taken from builders who are responsible for around 80% of homes constructed in the UK.
Builders are required to register a house with the NHBC before starting work, which means its figures represent homes that are to be built in the months ahead.
The NHBC said that 42,173 detached homes were registered during 2015, while 35,423 semi-detached homes were also registered.
The proportion of detached and semi-detached new-build homes being registered has been growing in recent years, while the proportion of new flats being registered has been shrinking. The industry has said the change reflects the demand for more family homes.
In 2015, flats and maisonettes accounted for just 31% of all new-build properties registered, down from nearly half (48%) in 2008.
Last year, 27% of new homes being registered were detached, while 23% were semi-detached, 17% were terraced and 2% were bungalows.
Nine out of 12 UK regions recorded annual growth in the number of new-build homes being registered. London saw a 9% year-on-year decline, although this follows a strong recovery in the capital in recent years.
The number of new-builds being registered was up year-on-year by 15% in Scotland, by 8% in South East England, by 23% in Eastern England, by 16% in the North West and by 9% in the South West.
Some 39% of new home buyers last year were aged under 34 years old, up from 33% in 2014 - which the industry said reflects the impact of schemes such as Help to Buy to get people onto the housing ladder.
Mike Quinton, the NHBC's chief executive, said: "We have seen encouraging levels of house-building across most regions of the country.
"The detached home continues its resurgence, with our figures showing that house builders are building the highest number of detached properties for over a decade, with semi-detached homes also at their highest level in more than 20 years.
"There is still a way to go before we are building the levels of new homes that were seen before the economic downturn, but 2015 represents consolidation on the growth seen over the last three years."
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: "Today's figures are good news for anyone who works hard and aspires to own their own home. We've got the country building again and our efforts are paying off with the number of new homes registered across the UK hitting its highest levels since 2007.
"We're working closely with housebuilders to ensure they have the skills needed to build even more homes hard-working people want and our initiatives like Help to Buy have helped nearly 270,000 people to buy since 2010."
Here are the number of new homes being registered across UK regions in 2015 and the percentage change compared with 2014, according to the NHBC:
:: North East, 5,822, 9%
:: North West, 13,568, 16%
:: Yorkshire and Humberside, 7,633, minus 13%
:: West Midlands,13,478, 9%
:: East Midlands, 13,236, 12%
:: Eastern, 16,871, 23%
:: South West, 15,725, 9%
:: London, 25,994, minus 9%
:: South East, 23,149, 8%
:: Scotland, 12,755, 15%
:: Wales, 4,686, minus 2%
:: Northern Ireland (including Isle of Man), 3,223, 30%