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English housebuilding slumps further

The latest official figures for housebuilding in England show that new starts are down by 10 per cent.

Across the board, the seasonally adjusted figures show that housebuilding starts declined by 10 per cent on last quarter, from 23,820 to 21,540. That figure is down from 28,330 this time last year, and from 44,390 in 2007.

Starts from local authorities and housing associations, in particular, almost halved from a year ago, from 6270 to 3260, while private housebuilders decreased starts from 22,060 a year ago to 18,280.

Housebuilding starts have tumbled since the start of the credit crisis in 2008. In that year they stood at 170,400, dropping by more than half in 2008-2009.

The grim figures come as the government is coming under pressure to make mortgages more affordable and boost housebuilding.

RICS Chief Economist Simon Rubinsohn, said: “These figures demonstrate the widening scale of the problem in delivering sufficient new housing.

“There was speculation earlier this week about government measures to relax planning rules on affordable housing and it’s clear something bold is desperately needed to address the current housing crisis.”

The government has recently announced that it will be attempting to help renegotiate section 106 agreements in a bid to get stalled projects moving again.

Starts declined across regions, by ten per cent nationally, although the landing has been softer in London and the South of England.

Completions also decreased, down six per cent to 29,470 on the previous three months.

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