The number of new homes started in England continued to rise last year and reached the highest level since 2007, the latest official data shows.
Some 153,370 new homes were started in the year to December 2016, up 5% on the previous year and more than 140,500 homes were completed in the same period, according to the figures from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
But the number of completions at 140,666 were down by 1% and although they are 43% above the low point of the second quarter of 2009 they are still 26% below the peak recorded in the second quarter of 2007. All starts are now 143% above the trough in the second quarter of 2009 but 15% below the second quarter peak in 2007.
‘We’ve got the country building again with the highest number of housing starts for nine years. However, we know there’s more to be done to build more homes in the places that people want to live,’ said Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell.
He pointed out that the recently published housing white paper sets out an ambitious set of proposals to deliver more land, speed up build out, diversify the housing market, and support people who need help now.
The figures also show strong growth across the country with Islington and Manchester experiencing high levels of new home starts in the year to December 2016, with an annual increase of 296% and 323% respectively.
Barwell explained that the reforms have set out a bold new plans to fix the nation’s broken housing market and build more homes across England.
The four key aspects of the paper set out new measures to ensure the housing market works for everyone, and help local authorities, developers and SME builders get building.
‘Building more homes is an absolute priority, which is why the government plans to invest £25 billion in housing over the Spending Review,’ added Barwell.
Some £1.4 billion of funding has been released for Affordable Housing, and restrictions on funding have been relaxed so providers can build a range of homes including for Affordable Rent and Rent to Buy which help people save for a deposit before they buy.
The data comes from building control officers at local authorities, the National House Building Council and independent inspectors.