UK growth sees house-building recovery

Government action is getting Britain building again, according to Housing Minister Kris Hopkins.

The latest statistics reveal that the last three months have seen the fastest rate of housebuilding since the crash in 2008, and government schemes are helping tens of thousands of hardworking families get onto the housing ladder.

Hopkins said the housing market inherited in 2010 was a “smoking ruin”, but the right policies, including prioritising limited financial resources, are returning it to health. He said the figures were the latest evidence that solid progress is being made across the housing market as a whole, including:

* Faster housebuilding – housing starts over the last 12 months increased by 16% compared with the year before, rising from 101,280 to 117,110, and the 32,230 homes started between July and September this year represent the fastest rate of housebuilding since 2008; * Building new homes to match demand – over 18,000 reservations have now been made through Help to Buy: Equity Loan.Every reservation means a new build home is being sold, and housebuilders are using this momentum to build more homes. At the same time 2,000 households received offers through Help to Buy: Mortgage Guarantee in the first month alone; * Helping hard working people onto the housing ladder – since 2011, the government has been helping almost 50,000 hardworking households onto the housing ladder: over 36,000 through Help to Buy and earlier schemes, and over 13,400 social tenants through the Right to Buy. The Council of Mortgage Lenders confirmed this week that the number of new mortgages is now at the highest level since 2008; * More affordable housing – 98,700 affordable homes have been delivered through the affordable homes programme since it started in 2011, which is more than half way towards delivering 170,000 new affordable homes by 2015.

The minister said he was reassured improvements across the housing market were delivering progress across the whole country, for example:

* The highest number of Help to Buy sales were in Leeds, Wiltshire, Milton Keynes and Reading, while the highest number of Right to Buy sales were in Birmingham, Leeds, Sandwell and Sheffield; * Some of the biggest increases in housebuilding were in Hammersmith and Fulham, Southampton, Cambridge and East Devon; * Construction of new affordable homes across London has risen seven-fold compared to the same period last year, while Cornwall, Wiltshire, Lewisham and Hackney delivered the most affordable homes in 2012-13

Hopkins said: “This Government inherited the biggest budget deficit in our peacetime history and house building rates that had crashed to their lowest levels since the 1920s.

“We’ve taken the tough decisions to tackle the deficit, keeping interest rates and repossessions down, and introduced a series of initiatives to help build more affordable homes and give hard-working people a helping hand up the housing ladder.

“[Today’s] figures show we’re building at the fastest rate since the crash in 2008, more people are securing a place on the housing ladder, and we’re delivering tens of thousands of affordable homes across the whole country.

“But there’s still more to do, and improving the housing market will remain a top priority. That means getting builders back on site, delivering new housing, more jobs and ensuring every hard working family has a place they can call home.”

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