New figures show fall in starts of new homes

New government figures published today show the number of new build homes under construction has decreased, putting a further squeeze on the housing crisis.

According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the new build dwellings figures should be regarded as a leading indicator of overall housing supply, but today’s figures show that:

  • New build dwelling starts in England were estimated at 37,220 in the latest quarter (April-June 2019), a 2% decrease compared to the previous three months and an 8% decrease on a year earlier;
  • Annual new build dwelling starts totalled 160,640 in the year to June 2019, a 1% decrease compared with the year to June 2018.
  • During the same period, completions totalled 173,660 an increase of 8% compared with last year – but still a long way behind the rate needed to meet the government target for new homes.
  • Most local authority areas in London – where a lack of housing is most acute – showed a decrease in starts and completions of new builds between June 2018 and June 2019.

Clive Docwra, managing director of construction consulting and design agency, McBains, said: “Today’s figures show the amount of new homes being started or completed are still nowhere near the number required to meet the government’s target of building 300,000 homes a year by the mid 2020s.

“Brexit uncertainty continues to bite, with many housebuilding projects on hold until the picture on the UK withdrawal from the EU becomes clearer, while the weak pound means the high cost of imported materials is holding back construction.

“Demand for housing is far outstripping supply, but today’s figures prove there is still no light at the end of the tunnel in terms of solving the housing crisis.”