New build completions up 6.4%

Official government statistics show new build completions are up 6.4% year-on-year.

The government’s net additional dwellings data, released last week shows that new build completions accounted for 195,290 of supply in 2017-18 (the year to April).

The figures also reveal that housing supply in England has increased to 222,190 during the period – up 78% in five years.

Welcoming the statistics, the Home Builders Federation said that, with housing supply totalling 629,000 over the past three years, the industry was set to “smash” the target set by the government to build 1 million homes in this parliament. But it urged ministers to continue to support the whole housing sector “if we are to deliver the government’s new 300,000 target”.

HBF said the dwellings data also highlighted “the huge economic benefits” that housebuilding was now creating, with every home built supporting an estimated 3.1 jobs “meaning the industry is now supporting over 700,000 jobs – almost 300,000 more than it was six years ago”.

It also noted that the supply increases had generated a significant uplift in the financial contributions being made towards local infrastructure and amenities, as well as affordable housing provision. In 2017, it explained, housing schemes provided more than £6 billion in this funding to central and local government.

The new build market, which HBF said was growing despite Brexit uncertainty, represents an estimated 15% of overall housing transactions, up from a long term average of around 8%, it noted.

HBF reiterated the industry’s support for the extension to Help to Buy until 2023 but warned that the government needed to ensure the revised scheme could support the number of sales for its budget.

“Further improvements to the planning system are also required as well as confirmation on the status of skilled workers from abroad post-Brexit,” it commented.

Stewart Baseley, HBF’s executive chairman, said: “Today’s numbers are yet another sign that the home building industry is delivering the increases in housing supply the country needs.

“Whilst the second hand market remains sluggish amidst wider economic uncertainty, with Help to Buy enabling first time buyers to purchase new build homes, builders have continued to invest and increase output.”

But he cautioned: “Whilst huge progress is being made, government needs to continue to work with all parts of the housing sector to assist them to deliver further increases if we are to hit their 300,000 target.”