House-building has dropped nine per cent compared to a year ago

Shelter calls it one of the biggest quarterly falls in a decade

Greg Clark

Greg Clark, secretary of state for local government 

New data shows house-building has dropped nine per cent compared to a year ago, despite a housing crisis in the country leaving many unable to afford a home.

Government figures out today reveal house-building was nine per cent lower in the three-month ‘quarter’ leading up to March than it was in the same quarter in 2015.

The number of houses being built is also down three per cent compared to the previous quarter.

These percentages are the same for house-building ‘starts’ and ‘completions’, with the number of houses for each at 35,530 and 32,950 respectively.

However, annual house-building ‘starts’ were up one per cent compared to the previous year at 139,680 for 2015-16, while completions were up by 12 per cent at 139,690.

Private housing ‘starts’ were down three per cent in March against the previous quarter, while there were seven per cent fewer completions.

There were also nine per cent fewer ‘starts’ by housing associations against the last quarter with completions down 24 per cent.

Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Shelter, said:

The government has promised to build a million homes by 2020, yet these figures show one of the biggest quarterly falls in the number of homes built that we’ve seen for a decade.

We’re still only building a little over half the homes we need each year and it’s simply not good enough.’

He said the shortage of homes has ‘pushed millions into expensive and unstable private renting’, while many are in temporary accommodation or on waiting lists.

Mr Robb added:

‘After six years and a Housing Bill that does little to tackle the underlying cause of our housing crisis, the Government needs to get on the side of people on typical incomes.

Rather than schemes like Starter Homes which only help higher earners, it’s time they commit to building homes for ordinary people.’

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