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London housing starts plummet

London’s housebuilding industry took a major dent last year, with the number of new homes registered for construction starts plummeting by a third, according to data revealed this week.   

Figures published by the National House Building Council showed that just 17,322 residential units were registered in the capital in 2016.

This was down from 25,760 the previous 12 months and dragged the UK-wide figure into a year-on-year decline despite booming regional markets.

There was a 27 per cent increase in new build registrations in Yorkshire and Humberside; a 14 per cent hike in the South-east; and a 12 per cent rise in the North-west.

But overall the UK suffered a 2 per cent drop in housing starts, according to the figures, with 151,687 registrations last year. A fee is paid by builders to register every new home to be built.

Meanwhile the amount of new builds completed in 2016 grew in eight out of 12 regions.

Yorkshire and Humberside again saw the biggest increase, up 6 per cent to 8,334 finished homes.

NHBC business development director Mark Jones said the result of the EU referendum had made an impact in London.

“London has been leading growth since the recession for new home production across the UK,” Mr Jones said. “Despite the significant events of last year, the market has stayed resilient.”

Speaking at the NHBC’s registration statistics event, senior figures in the housebuilding industry called on the government to support SME growth and address the sector’s skills gap in its hotly anticipated housing white paper.

Home Builders Federation chairman Peter Andrew called for the government to review local planning systems, as SMEs “struggle to negotiate or afford” current methods.

Savills head of housing Robert Gundy said housing associations could form a “new real estate sector” if the government “cleared the blockages” they faced.

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