New starts for affordable homes fell by 65 per cent this year, according to the latest government figures.
The Homes and Communities Agency’s six-monthly housing statistics revealed that only 19,967 new affordable home builds were started in England in 2011-2012, compared to 57,648 last year and 64,692 the year before.
The figure was heavily impacted by the closure of the National Affordable Housing Programme, the Local Authority New Build Programme and the Kickstart Housing Delivery Programme.
But the agency said it remains on track to exceed its target of 170,000 new affordable homes by 2015, with HCA chief executive Pat Ritchie saying “we are where we expected to be in our delivery programme”.
Ninety per cent of the affordable homes were started under the 2011-2015 Affordable Homes Programme, which began in the second half of the year.
The figures show that 59,451 affordable houses were completed in England in the year, surpassing the target of 41,000.
Of these, 79 per cent were for affordable homes, primarily to rent.
The HCA said 28 per cent of new home starts were in London, 21 per cent were in the South and South-west, 17 per cent were in the Midlands and 13 per cent were in the East and South-east.
London also led the way in housing completions, with 31 per cent being built in the capital. The East and South-east saw 17 per cent of completions, while 16 per cent were in the South and South-west and 14 per cent in the Midlands.
Ms Ritchie said: “The numbers demonstrate strong completions and a solid platform on which to build, especially when put into context alongside the HCA’s wider deliver work.”
“Our teams have worked hard and we will continue to look at more innovative ways of working with and supporting our delivery partners, most significantly through our Affordable Homes Programme as it gathers momentum.”
The figures come as Institute of Fiscal Studies director Paul Johnson warned that public spending cuts in housing would continue to bite until after the next election.
“Neither the public nor policy makers have got their heads around the fact that the worst of the pain is still to come,” he said. “Nothing like this has been tried in any OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) country during the past 60 years. This is unchartered territory.”