Earlier this year (Q3, 2014) the Government released statistics on new housing starts per annum in the UK. The statistics demonstrate significant fluctuation in new starts, year on year from 1979 to present day. The most interesting outcomes include:
• In England 30,410 new houses were started (Q2 2013 – Q2 2014), an increase of 500 on the previous year. The figures for Scotland have not been finalised yet and in Northern Ireland the new starts have dropped by 660 compared to the previous year.
• Of the new houses started in England, 24,840 is by the private sector (81.68%) with the remaining 5,060 by housing associations.
• In Q3 2014, starts have increased 112% from the low point of March 2009, but despite this increase, they still remain 26 per cent below the pre-recession figure of March 2007.
The graph below illustrates the new housing starts in England over the last decade.
From the government’s perspective, this increase has been achieved thanks to their reforms in the planning system and schemes such as Help to Buy. However, according to Shelter these latest government figures show that “we’re still building less than half of the 250,000 homes needed to address England’s housing storage”.
While it is obvious that the start and completion housing rate is lower that it was in 2007, it is increasing, albeit slowly. While a faster rate of increase is required, hopefully the trend in construction is finally showing indications of improvement.