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Housing starts down 4% in 2011

The number of housing starts in England fell last year by more than four per cent, government figures have revealed

Just 98,250 new homes were started on site in the 12 months to December 2011, compared to 102,770 in the preceding year.

The 2011 housing starts figure was 46 per cent below the 12 months to March 2006, when house building peaked. However, the figure was 44 per cent higher than the low point of 68,280 starts in the 12 months to June 2009.

However, housing completions grew by six per cent to 109,020 in the 12 months to December 2011, although this is 38 per cent below 2007’s peak.

National Housing Federation chief executive David Orr said: ‘These disappointing figures show we’re missing a real opportunity. Building new homes would tackle the housing crisis and, with rising unemployment and living costs, spur economic growth by creating jobs and supporting small businesses.

‘Affordable housing can also play a role in kick-starting the economy. As well as providing homes for people stuck on waiting lists at the lowest cost to the public purse, it also helps to tackle social deprivation and builds stronger communities. It’s a win/win for the taxpayer.’

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