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425 homes in six months: GLA housing starts tumble

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Just 425 houses were started in the half-year from April 2012 to September 2012 under Greater London Authority (GLA) schemes, with most boroughs reporting a dead stop in new starts

The figures published today are less than seven per cent of the three-year average for a half-year, which stands at 6,594, and represents an even greater drop after 2011/12’s disappointing figures.

According to the AJ’s sister publication Construction News, just 4,659 homes were started under GLA programmes over the last 12 months, down from 18,354 the year before (2010/2011).

London is in the grip of a worsening housing crisis, with rents and prices continuing to outstrip the rest of the UK.

A spokesman for Boris Johnson said the mayor was confident he would still hit his new pledge of 55,000 affordable homes by 2015.

He added: ‘The Affordable Homes Programme to help deliver this target is still relatively new and initial figures published today, while in line with our expectations, should not be used as a benchmark for the programme’s final outcome.

‘Year end figures give a far more accurate picture of progress and, with contracts signed, we are working closely with developers to ensure that their commitments are honoured.’

Developers usually start more houses in the second half of the year.

Most boroughs reported that no new homes were built, with only Croydon, Bromley, Barnet, Hackney, Hounslow, Lewisham, Redbridge, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton and Westminster reporting new starts.

Under the National Affordable Housing Programme, 70 homes were built, along with 355 from its replacement, the Affordable Housing Programme.

171 affordable rent starts were reported in the period, along with 117 social rent and 137 affordable home ownership.

No new starts were reported for the open market.

The figures don’t include starts under FirstBuy and Mortgage Rescue.

Nonetheless, the figures will come as a blow to the government after construction was shown to have slumped further last week, to the lowest level since the turn of the millennium.

Housing minister Mark Prisk told CN in September that his priority was to build “more decent homes for more people”.

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