Housebuilding starts dropped in the last financial year, the latest official data has revealed
Figures released by the housing ministry show construction began on 160,210 residential units in England in the 12 months to 5 April 2018. This was down 3 per cent from the previous year.
Wales and Northern Ireland also saw reduced numbers of starts. Separate figures from the Scottish government indicated a small drop in starts north of the border over the same period.
Private, local authority and housing association volumes were all down across England.
But housing completions reached 160,660 in England – their highest level in a decade.
The Home Builders Federation dismissed concerns over the housing pipeline, saying supply was up 74 per cent in the past four years ‘with all indicators suggesting that increases will continue’. It added that planning permissions were at their highest level on record.
But architects have been more sceptical about housebuilding volumes. The RIBA warned this month that a sharp drop in architects’ confidence about future private housebuilding workloads was ‘some cause for concern’.
Nevertheless the government has recently been vocal about its housebuilding ambitions.
Prime minister Theresa May earlier this month called for a new wave of high-quality social homes after pledging £2 billion in long-term funding deals for housing providers. Housing secretary James Brokenshire insisted at a conference that the government was ’determined to deliver 300,000 homes on average a year by the middle of the next decade’.
Meanwhile Labour promised at its party conference last week to create a dedicated housing department and build one million council homes if it came to power.