Government figures show quarterly fall in new build starts

Latest government figures show that, seasonally adjusted, new build dwelling starts in Q2 were at 38,730, down 4 per cent from the 40,200 starts within the first three months of the year.

This number stands at 3 per cent when compared on an annual basis, from 165,540 in Q2 2017 to 160,020 in Q2 2018 (non-seasonally adjusted).

The statistics show that completions, however, were up – seasonally adjusted, 40,550 new dwellings entered the market in the three months to June compared to 37,900 in Q1 – growth of 7 per cent.

On an annual basis, new build completions in England in Q2 totalled 161,240 (non-seasonally adjusted) as compared to 153,750 in 2017 – a jump of 5 per cent.

The intermediary mortgage lenders association executive director Kate Davies says: “Despite a modest decrease in the number of new build starts, the market has clearly been influenced by the government’s Help to Buy equity loan scheme, which has helped over 170,000 households into home ownership to date

“Whilst HTB may not have been intended to become a permanent fixture to the UK housing market, it has become a very important element of business for builders, lenders and prospective home owners. It is therefore very important that the government clarifies what it intends do when the scheduled funding of HTB ceases in 2021 in order to avoid the risk of market disruption.

“If the scheme is to be maintained but in an amended form, participants will need maximum notice of this in order to plan ahead so that construction and lending can continue smoothly. If the scheme is not to be continued, the government will presumably announce alternative measures to address the housing shortage, as promised in its February 2017 White Paper.

“With the Autumn Budget on the horizon, Imla would welcome confirmation that the government will continue to its support of first-time buyers post-2021 and also ensure that the whole housing market – public and private sectors – continues to be supported.”

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