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Number of new homes rose by 11% in last financial year

Words: Laura Edgar

New government housing figures suggest that the number of new homes has risen by 11 per cent in 2015 to 2016.

According to the figures, 189,650 net additions were delivered over the past year – 163,940 new build homes, 30,600 gains from change of use between non-domestic and residential, 4,760 from conversions between houses and flats, and 780 other gains.

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) said the government’s Help to Buy scheme has now delivered almost 100,000 sales. The organisation, which represents the home building industry in England and Wales, is continuing to work with government to speed up the rate at which planning permissions being granted are processed to the point where they can be built.

Gavin Barwell, housing minister, said: “We promised to turbocharge house building so more people can have the security of their own home, and that is exactly what we are doing with the biggest increase in the number of new homes in many years.

“We know there is more to do to ensure the housing market works for everyone and not just the privileged few and we will be setting our further details in our housing white paper shortly.”

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF, said: “These figures provide the best evidence to date as to how much house builders have ramped up housing supply. The government’s ambitious target to build one million homes over the course of this parliament is now within reach.

“In response to the positive measures introduced by government in recent years, such as Help to Buy, huge increases in output have been delivered. Providing government continues to create an environment within which the industry can operate and grow house builders will continue to increase delivery of new homes.”

Brian Berry, chief executive at the Federation of Master Builders, said the figures suggest positive progress towards solving the housing crisis is being made, yet the figures are below the number needed to meet the government’s target of one million homes by 2020.

“The current figures also show a strong reliance on the conversion of existing buildings to residential use, which is a trend that can’t be sustained indefinitely. Recent government policies to boost house building are helping, but there is still plenty of room for more radical solutions to meet the one million target.”

He said the government needs to “turbo-charge” the SME house building sector. Much more can be done, including a renewed focus on enabling planning permission for more small sites.

“We’re hopeful that the government will listen to the voice of SME builders in its forthcoming housing white paper and put measures to enable more small scale development at the heart of the country’s house building strategy.”

The figures can be found here.

Image credit | iStock