2008 home starts lowest on record

Housing Association figures revealed a less dramatic decline in applications to start social housing properties, with starts totalling 34,780 in 2008 – a decrease of 6% on 2007 (37,162).

Imtiaz Farookhi, NHBC Chief Executive, said: "Our figures for the calendar year 2008 are the lowest since our computerised records began and are 18% lower than the previous lowest year, which was 1992 when 130,998 new homes were started. In 2008 several regions experienced a decrease in new home starts in excess of 50% when compared with the previous year. These include Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, North West and the West Midlands.

"We anticipate the volume of new home starts to remain relatively low throughout 2009 and are mindful of the industry’s need to retain skilled workers to be able to respond to the demand for new homes when recovery comes. In view of this, NHBC has launched a series of measures to support house builders in the downturn, including funding NVQs, low-cost training programmes and nationwide seminars."

The total number of new home completions also fell in 2008 compared to the previous year. NHBC statistics show new build (private and public sector) completions totalled 149,238 in 2008 – 20% lower than the 186,505 new homes that were completed in 2007.

Additional year end figures show that the average number of new homes sold each day in the UK during 2008 was 433, a decrease of 24% on the previous year (572).

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