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New build starts down on quarterly and annual basis in Q1

The number of new builds started in England fell by 5 per cent in the first quarter of the year compared to the previous three months, according to government statistics.

An estimated 39,350 new builds were started in the first quarter of 2018 on a seasonally adjusted basis, which is an 8 per cent drop on the same period a year earlier, says the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government.

Completions were estimated at 38,160 for the quarter, 9 per cent lower on a quarterly basis and 4 per cent down year-on-year.

New build starts for the 12 months to March were also down, falling 3 per cent on the 12 months prior. However, for that period, completions rose by 8 per cent year-on-year.

IMLA executive director Kate Davies says: “The number of new homes still falls short of the volume needed to meet the UK’s chronic housing shortage. Additionally, when looking at the data over an extended period of time – it is clear that quarterly housing starts remain well below pre-financial crash years.

“The number of housing completions is at its lowest since Q1 2016, despite ongoing policy pledges to mend what the government has itself described as the ‘broken housing market’.

“To have any hope of rebalancing the relationship between housing supply and demand, the government must do more to instil confidence in the new build sector.”

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