Number of homes built in last year over 100,000 short of government target

The number of homes started in the UK has increased 2% in the year to June with 144,280 homes started, according to new figures released by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Comparing the first and second quarters of the year, seasonally adjusted starts were up 2% and completions up 7%.

However the Government is now 100,000 homes per year short of the million homes by 2020 promised by David Cameron, with 139,030 new homes completed in the year to June.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We’ve got the country building again with more new homes started and built than this time last year.

“This is real progress but there is much more to do. That’s why we are going further and increasing our investment in house building to ensure many more people can benefit.”

The effects of the vote to leave the EU are yet to be seen with no data on starts for the period after the vote yet to be released. However some commentators believe the number of starts before the referendum increasing is a positive sign.

Paul Smith, CEO of haart estate agents, said: “Today’s data shows that despite all the claims in the run-up to the referendum campaign, the construction of new homes remained steady in Q2, with housebuilding starts up 2% on Q1 and up 6% on the same time last year. Completions were also up a healthy 7% on Q1. It seems housebuilders were busy ploughing ahead with new sites despite the referendum noise, because the demand for new homes remained high.

“The referendum result will test the nerve of housebuilders, but it’s clear that since June the impact on economic confidence has been less than expected, with consumers continuing to spend and a housing market flat-lining rather than falling. Now that interest rates have dropped, it won’t be long before things pick up again and house-hunters hungry for the first home will be looking to take advantage.

“We also have a new government committed to ensuring that housebuilding prospers, and so housebuilders should not hesitate to act now. If housebuilding slows in Q3, this will only exacerbate the housing shortage when the market does spring back to life. It is up to the government and the Mayor of London to ensure that housebuilding remains attractive, so as to safeguard investment in new sites and provide the new homes that are so clearly needed.”

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