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DCLG stats show number of new housing starts up 2% in Q3 2015

Housing starts in England grew by 2 per cent quarter on quarter in Q3 2015, according to statistics from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Housing starts hit 34,940 in Q3, up 2 per cent compared with Q2, while starts were also up 2 per cent compared with the same quarter a year earlier.

This growth was largely driven by housing association starts, which increased by 10 per cent quarter on quarter. In contrast, private housing starts grew by just 1 per cent over the same period.

Earlier this week, the Housing & Finance Insitute, the Treasury-backed body charged with accelerating housing supply, unveiled plans to revive SME housebuilding to help meet government ambitions.

Housing starts are now double the level recorded in Q1 2009 at the height of the recession, but are still 30 per cent below Q1 2007’s pre-recession peak.

Private completions were up by 2 per cent in Q3 2015 compared with Q2, but housing association completions fell by 14 per cent.

Nevertheless, the level of housing association completions was still the third-highest recorded in the last three years.

Annual housing starts in the 12 months to September 2015 totalled 137,490, down 1 per cent compared with a year earlier.

Housing completions over the same period stood at 135,050 – up 17 per cent compared with a year earlier.

Commenting on the data, Chartered Institute of Housing chief executive Terrie Alafat said: “It’s encouraging to see an increase in the number of homes being built, but today’s figures show that we have a long way to go.

“We have failed to build the number of homes we need for decades; the result is a housing crisis in which millions of people are struggling to access a decent home at a price they can afford.

“And the fact remains that during the year to September we only managed to build 135,050 houses – that’s just over half the number we need every year to keep up with our growing population and start tackling the shortfall that has built up over the years.”

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