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Statistics showing dip in housebuilding target cause concern for government’s target

Words: Lydia Till

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) found new-build dwelling starts in England were estimated at 36,630 in the latest quarter (January through to March 2019) – a 9 per cent decrease compared with the previous three months.

New-build dwellings in England also took a 9 per cent decrease compared with the same time period a year earlier. Completions were estimated at 42,870, 1 per cent down on the previous quarter and 14 per cent higher than a year ago.

Annual new-build dwelling starts totalled 162,270 in the year to March 2019, a 1 per cent increase compared with the year to March 2018. During the same period, completions totalled 169,770, an increase of 6 per cent compared with last year.

Other statistics in the report include:

  • Private enterprise new-build dwelling starts in the March quarter 2019 are down by 7 per cent compared with the previous quarter, and completions are unchanged.
  • Starts by housing associations are 8 per cent lower compared with the last quarter, and completions are down by 5 per cent.
  • All starts between January and March 2019 are now 114 per cent above the trough in the March quarter 2007 peak.
  • All completions across the quarter are 71 per cent above the trough in the March quarter 2013 and 11 per cent below the March quarter 2007 peak.

These results threaten the government’s target to build 300,000 homes a year. Clive Docwra, managing director of consulting and design agency Mcbains, said: “Today’s figures show that this will remain a pipe dream unless measures are implemented to help boost the number of new-build starts and completions. These figures bear out that construction firms are suffering from uncertainties over Brexit.”

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