Press release

Housing starts and completions hit 7-year high

More than 143,500 new build homes started - nearly double low point of 2009.

  • number of starts up 23% on same quarter a year earlier
  • completions up 21% over last year
  • more than 143,500 new build homes started - nearly double low point of 2009
  • planning permissions up 12% on same quarter last year

The number of starts and completions on new build homes continued to rise last year to the highest level since 2008, new figures released today (25 February 2016) show.

More than 143,500 new build homes were started up to December 2015 – a rise of 23% on the same quarter a year earlier and up 91% when compared to the low point of the year up to June 2009.

The House building: December quarter 2015 also showed that the number of new build homes completed were up 21% on the previous year.

It means both starts and completions for new build homes are at their highest level since 2008 with more than 700,000 new build homes started since April 2010.

Meanwhile, figures from the Home Builders Federation also published today show a 12% rise in planning permissions on the same quarter last year.

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said:

Aspiring homeowners should get the help they need to turn their dream into a reality – key to that is building the homes our country needs.

Today’s figures show how our reforms to the planning system are delivering the permissions needed and schemes like Help to Buy have given builders the confidence to invest and build, with starts and completions now at their highest since 2008.

But we’re determined to do even more, and fulfil our ambition to deliver 1 million new homes by 2020-21.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:

We’ve got the country building again with starts nearly double the low point of 2009 and along with completions hitting a 7-year high.

However we’re not complacent. That’s why we’ve set out the most ambitious housing vision for more than a generation, doubling the housing budget so we can meet our ambition of delivering a million new homes.

Housebuilding growth across the country

Today’s figures show that the number of new build homes completed by private housebuilders have risen 20% on the previous year, while those completed by housing associations are up 27% over the same period.

They also show strong regional growth with Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire experiencing high levels of starts along with areas in North Oxfordshire and the Thames estuary.

Figures also released today by the Home Builders Federation show that planning permission for 59,875 homes was granted in England during the third quarter of last year, up 12% from 53,409 permissions in the corresponding quarter the previous year.

The Housing Minister added:

Our planning reforms are helping to get spades in the ground with a quarter of a million planning permissions granted up to September last year – higher than the pre-recession peak in 2007.

And we want to go even further. That is why just last week we set out ambitious proposals that will speed up the planning process, including offering dedicated fast-track application services.

Figures released in November showed that the total number of new homes in the country rose by 25% over 2014 to 2015 when taking into account all homes, including new builds, houses that been converted to flats and buildings whose use has been to changed to residential.

The government is currently moving ahead with its landmark Housing and Planning Bill, which will help deliver on its ambition to build a million more homes.

Measures include:

  • new affordable Starter Homes – a new legal duty will be placed on councils to guarantee the delivery of Starter Homes on all reasonably sized new development sites, and to promote the delivery of Starter Homes in their area
  • permission in principle for sites identified in plans and brownfield registers – to give certainty around the sites that are suitable for housing, while protecting the green belt
  • planning reforms to support small builders – requiring councils to ensure they have permission shovel ready plots to match the local demand for custom build

Figures released last week as part of the English Housing Survey showed that more than a decade-long decline, starting in 2003, in the number of people owning their home has been turned around with more than 14 million owner occupiers in the country last year. Lending to first-time buyers is also at its highest since 2007.

Further information

The House building: December quarter 2015 England statistics record the number of new build homes completed and started during the quarter October to December. It uses data sourced from building control officers at local authorities, the National House Building Council and independent inspectors.

This differs from the data sources used in the Net supply of housing in England: 2014 to 2015, which cover all new homes, including new builds, homes that have been divided into flats and change of use from commercial to residential.

The new build figures from the Net supply of housing statistics have always been larger than the annual total from the housebuilding data because of a range of factors, including the use of different data sources and the length of time it takes for the data to be collected.

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