New home builds fall 14% in three months

New home builds fall 14% in three months

Just over 33,200 homes started being built in England in last quarter, the sharpest decline since start of 2012, government figures show

The number of new homes being started in England fell at its steepest rate for three years in the last quarter, official figures show.

The 14% drop in housing starts to 33,280 in the period from April to June is the biggest decline since the first three months of 2012, according to seasonally adjusted government data. Starts are 6% lower year on year.

It means the pace of new housebuilding is 32% below the peak level in 2007, but remains nearly double the trough it reached during the financial crisis in 2009.

The fall comes after a 29% rise in the first quarter of this year, the biggest increase on records going back to 2006.

For the year to June 2015, there was a total of 136,320 starts, down 1% on the year before, according to the figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Housing completions for the quarter were 4% up on the previous period at 35,640, and 22% up year on year. But they remain 26% below their 2007 peak. In the year to June, completions totalled 131,060, a 15% increase on the previous 12-month period.

The housing charity Shelter said this was only half the 250,000 needed to deal with the country's housing shortage.

Its chief executive, Campbell Robb, said: "Once again, these figures show that we're not building anywhere near the number of homes needed each year, leaving millions of ordinary, hardworking people priced out.

"And worryingly, despite claims by the government that progress is being made to solve our chronic housing shortage, the number of new homes started has actually decreased."

During the general election campaign, David Cameron pledged that 200,000 homes would be built every year by 2017, as well as 200,000 starter homes by the end of the parliament.

The housing minister, Brandon Lewis, said: "Our government has got the country building again with figures showing that 131,060 extra homes have been built in the past year.

"This has provided a real boost to the UK's construction industry and is delivering the homes that hardworking people rightly deserve."

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