Housebuilding rates still failing to meet government targets

And the industry says the Coronavirus pandemic is set to affect targets even further.


The number of new-build homes started and completed continues to fall below government targets, according to the latest MHCLG stats.

Starts by housing associations are currently 10% lower compared to the last quarter, and completions down by 1%.

According to reports, on a quarterly basis, new-build dwelling starts in England were estimated at 34,260 (seasonally adjusted) in the latest quarter – an 11% decrease compared to the previous three months. That’s a 17% decrease on last year’s figures.

The MHCLG figures also revealed:

  • Annual new build dwelling starts totalled 151,020 in the year to December 2019 – a 10% decrease compared with the year to December 2018
  • During the same period, completions totalled 178,800, an increase of 9% compared with last year
  • All starts between October and December 2019 are now 99% above the trough in the March quarter 2009 and 30% below the March quarter 2007 peak
  • All completions between October and December 2019 are 78% above the trough in the March quarter 2013 and 7% below the March quarter 2007 peak

With the latest round of figures already showing an overall decrease, the housebuilding industry has said that it’s a taste of what’s to come as the Coronavirus pandemic shapes the UK.

Clive Docwra, managing director of construction consulting and design agency McBains, said: “The government’s ambitious housebuilding target – delivering a million homes in the next five years – was always going to be extremely challenging, and the latest statistics bear this out.

“However, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will mean this is now virtually impossible.

“Many sites are empty, supply chains have been disrupted, and multi-million-pounds worth of private investment is on hold for the foreseeable future.

“That will knock back housebuilding rates months, if not years.

“The government has already announced an unprecedented package of measures to help support business, but once we’ve turned the tide on the virus further help, such as tax incentives, will be needed to get the UK building again.”

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