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Homes for the many

Friday 16 November 2018

Newly published figures show that over 222,000 new homes were delivered in 2017 to 2018, marking a two per cent increase from the previous year.

The report, which was published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government today, looked at dwelling stock supply in England, taking into account new house building completions, conversions (for example a house into flats), changes of use (for example a shop into a house), demolitions and other changes to the dwelling stock.

And whilst shy of the Conservative Government's ambitious annual target, the figures represent the highest level of new homes delivered across England in all but one of the last 31 years, bringing the total number of additional homes delivered to 1.3 million since 2010.

New builds accounted for 195,290 of the total, offset by 8,050 demolitions, and conversions from non-residential buildings made up 29,720 additional homes. Another 4,550 were delivered through houses being converted into flats, while 680 were other gains, such as caravans and house boats.

Unfortunately, the report doesn't provide a breakdown by tenure, but it does look at sub national trends. Cornwall was the council which delivered most additional homes at 3,427, while London presented a mixed picture, with 12 out of 33 boroughs showing some level of increase compared with last year, with 21 boroughs showed a drop on last year’s numbers.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said that building enough homes is her number one domestic priority and this year’s slight increase follows significant Government reforms. There is now a more streamlined approach to planning rules, with additional investment into the Affordable Homes Programme, and the biggest barrier to councils building homes - the Housing Revenue Account borrowing cap - has been removed, freeing up councils to deliver up to an estimated 10,000 homes a year. 

But what this report demonstrates is that more desperately needed homes are being delivered, a vital step in ensuring the housing market works for everyone. However, housebuilding will need to accelerate considerably on the current rate if the target of 300,000 a year is to be achieved by the mid-2020s. 

Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire MP, welcomed the announcement, saying: “Today's figures are great news and show another yearly increase in the number of new homes delivered, but we are determined to do more to keep us on track to deliver the homes communities need.

“That’s why we have set out an ambitious package of measures to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s. This includes over £44 billion investment, rewriting the planning rules and scrapping the borrowing cap so councils can deliver a new generation of council housing.”