More than 125,000 houses were built in the year to the end of March – 11 per cent more than the previous year – official figures show
Data from the Department for Communities and Local Government reveals this is the highest level of building completions in a 12-month period since the end of 2009.
Yet, despite this, the figures are still 29 per cent lower than their peak of 183,600 completions recorded for the year ending December 2007.
Some 140,500 homes were started in the year to March 2015, marking a five per cent increase on the 12 months to March 2014.
This is 24 per cent below the peak levels of 2007 but 86 per cent higher than the year to June 2009 when the impacts of the financial crisis were hardest felt.
The number of new builds started in the first quarter of this year is estimated at 40,300 – up 11 per cent on the corresponding quarter one year ago – while completions are projected at 34,040 and represent a 21 per cent annual increase.
The latest figures have been described by some industry professionals as “encouraging” for the market although momentum will be up to the new government.
In its manifesto the Conservatives’ housebuilding pledges for the next parliament included building 200,000 starter homes for first-time buyers, 275,000 additional affordable home and 10,000 homes to rent at below market rates.
England needs 230,000 new homes a year
However, many analysts believe that around 230,000 new homes need to be built in England each year in order to meet demand.
These figures are considerably above previous peak levels.
John Stewart, Director of Economic Affairs at the Home Builders Federation, added that work needs to be done to boost the speed at which land for housing clears the planning system:
“Swift action by the new government will allow the industry to maintain momentum and provide decent homes for thousands of people,” he said.
It was also suggested that increasing levels of house building would create thousands of jobs in the construction sector while also leading to widespread infrastructure improvements.