Despite a rise of 15% in the number of houses built since last year, the latest house building data published by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) showed that during April to June the number of new starts dropped by 14% – the biggest quarterly fall in three years.
During the second quarter of 2015, there were 33,280 homes started, with 136,00 annual housing starts in the past 12 months, a 1% decrease against a year earlier.
In total, there were over 131,060 completions in the last year, less than half the 275,000 affordable homes the government says is needed to ease the UK’s housing shortage.
The government has announced its first Rural Productivity Plan, which will give villages and towns in England’s rural communities permissions to build starter homes for local residents. As part of the plan, the government will amend planning rules to allow starter homes to be built in rural areas for the first time and work to improve rural transport connections for residents.
Shelter chief executive Campbell Rob, said the autumn statement was the government’s last opportunity to show it could turn around the housing crisis.
“Once again, these figures show that we’re not building anywhere near the number of homes needed each year, leaving millions of ordinary hard-working people priced out. And worryingly, despite claims by the government that progress is being made to solve our chronic housing shortage, the number of new homes started has actually decreased,” he said.
“The autumn spending review is George Osborne’s last chance to show he’s serious about turning around the housing crisis, by investing in the genuinely affordable homes this country so desperately needs.”
Housing minister Brandon Lewis said the government recognised there was more work to do in order to reach its target.
“Our One Nation government has got the country building again with today’s figures showing that 131,060 extra homes have been built in the past year. This has provided a real boost to the UK’s construction industry and is delivering the homes that hard-working people rightly deserve,” he added.
“However, we know there is more to do. That is why we have outlined plans to deliver 275,000 affordable homes by the end of this Parliament – the fastest rate of building for 20 years.”