House-building activity boots new homes and jobs

Number of starts for new homes climbs, with 137,010 new homes started in 2014

The number of starts for new homes continues to climb, with 137,010 new homes started in 2014, according to the latest figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government, a 10% rise on 2013.

The total is a 36% improvement on 2012 and 59% above the trough of 2009. The Home Builders Federation (HBF) said that housing starts among private sector housebuilders rose by almost 13% last year, following a 23% annual rise seen in 2013.

HBF also said that the starts data mirrored other recent figures, including its Housing Pipeline report which revealed a “steady rise” in the number of planning permissions being granted in recent quarters.

The increase in housebuilding activity has created “thousands of new jobs”, HBF commented, estimating that over the past two years, more than 100,000 extra new jobs had been created on the back of the housing recovery.

HBF noted that the Help to Buy equity loan initiative, introduced in April 2013, had “dramatically accelerated” growth. Almost 40,000 more homes were started in 2014 than in the last full year before Help to Buy was introduced.

But HBF warned that completion figures were still only at 118,760 – far below the numbers that the government or any opposition party was targeting. It added that “constraints still remain – not least with the planning process”.

HBF’s executive chairman Stewart Baseley, said: “Today’s figures demonstrate the increase in housebuilding activity over the past 18 months. Improving consumer confidence and the Help to Buy scheme have increased demand for new homes and the industry has responded.

“However, we are still way short of building the number of new homes the country needs. As we approach an election, all parties need to focus on how we can increase housing supply still further.”

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