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Homes England reports rising number of housing starts

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Homes England has reported the highest annual number of houses starting on site for nine years 

Figures released by the government’s housing delivery body reveal that construction began on 45,692 homes were made through the organisation’s various initiatives in the 12 months to March 2019.

This represents a 7 per cent rise from the previous year and the highest number since 2009/10. The figures exclude certain London programmes.

Starts of affordable homes for ownership reached 11,200 in the most recent year, the highest for at least a decade.

Across all tenures, affordable housing starts reached a five-year high of 30,563. More than half of these were for affordable rent, with 1,231 for social rent and 360 for intermediate rent.

However, the number of Homes England-funded social rent starts fell 12 per cent to 1,231.

Homes England chief executive Nick Walkley said there were positive signs that the delivery of homes was ‘on the up’.

But he stressed there was still a ‘huge amount of work to do’ to make sure the trend continued.

‘We’re just getting started and need the sector to join us in our mission to make sure we continue to deliver homes across the country for the people who need them the most,’ he said.

Joseph Daniels, founder of modular developer Project Etopia, said Homes England had ‘built up a head of steam’.

He commented: ‘Good progress in the past four years, with starts rising year-on-year, takes its building levels almost back to the high seen just after the financial crisis, although there is still a long way to go to satisfy the existing deficit.

‘Although the government’s overall pace of building remains roughly 10,000 homes off target, Homes England could make considerable inroads here and close this gap significantly over the next few years.’

Mark Dyason, managing director of development funding specialist Thistle Finance, said the data showed ‘there’s hope for the property market yet.

‘So extreme is the supply deficit that developers are proceeding with projects as they feel hedged against the political headwinds. Crucially, homes are not just being built in greater numbers but are selling in greater numbers, with the increase in affordable housing especially welcome.’

Homes England succeeded the Homes and Communities Agency last January. 

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