Belfast Telegraph

Building of new homes in England at highest level since 2008

The number of new-build homes being started across England is at its highest level since 2008, according to Government figures.

Some 164,960 new homes were started in the year to June 2017, up 13% on the previous year, and the highest rolling annual total since 2008, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said.

Private enterprise starts were up 16% compared with the previous year, while housing association starts decreased by 2% compared with a year before.

Between April and June, there were 41,180 new-builds started, down 3% on the previous three months but up by 10% on a year earlier.

Housing starts are still below a peak seen in 2007, but well above a trough in 2009.

Some 153,330 new homes have been completed over the last year, showing an 11% uplift compared with the year before.

Homes are considered started when work on laying the foundations happens, and completed when they are ready for someone to move into.

Gloucestershire, South Derbyshire and South Norfolk are among the strongest areas in delivering high levels of starts, the Government said.

Meanwhile, Croydon, together with areas in Kent and Gloucestershire, have high levels of completions.

Housing and Planning Minister Alok Sharma said building more homes is an "absolute priority" for the Government.

He said: "It's vital we maintain this momentum to deliver more quality homes in the places that people want to live. Our Housing White Paper set out an ambitious package of long-term reforms to do just that."

During the Autumn Statement, an additional £1.4 billion investment was announced for the Government's affordable housing programme, increasing the total budget to £7.1 billion.

Since 2010, almost 333,000 affordable homes have been delivered, including 240,000 affordable homes for rent, the Government said.

But Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: "While there has been a small increase in homes being built, sadly we're nowhere near touching distance of the 250,000 homes a year we desperately need."

She said the Government needed to introduce a new housebuilding system which would lower the cost of land and work with communities.

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