In the three months to June 2019, there were 49,210 starts, down from 56,120 recorded between July and September 2018 – and also a fall from 51,650 recorded in the same period of April to June in 2018.
Completions, however, increased quarter-on-quarter to 55,590 from 48,940, and were also up on an annual basis from 51,220 in the same period of 2018.
At a regional level, more recent data showed a mixed picture for housebuilding starts, but completions were largely down.
Starts were particularly strong in London, jumping to 3,880 in the three months to September 2019, up from 2,520 in the previous quarter. Completions in the capital were broadly flat.
Neil Knight, business development director at Spicerhaart Part-Exchange and Assisted Move, said: “There has been plenty of talk about ‘levelling up’ regional economies in the wake of Boris Johnson’s election victory in December. Today’s quarterly house-building data from the ONS show how much the house-building sector needs this to materialise.
“With a ministerial reshuffle expected any day, and the Budget next month, now is the time for the government to step up and start making some of the long-term reforms needed to deliver a sustainable boost to house-building in the regions.”
Starts jumped to an 11-year high in the last financial year, the figures showed.
Building starts were measured at 202,440 in the year from 2018 to 2019, the highest number since 2007-2008.
The number of starts has gradually increased over the past ten years but has only now reached levels seen prior to the financial crisis.
The number of completions measured were at 203,900, again the highest number since 2007-2008.
Founder and chief executive of Stone Real Estate, Michael Stone, said: “This is seriously impressive given the wider economic backdrop and means that we have a very firm foundation to build on, now that life has started to return to the market”
It remains to be seen if the quarterly figures will translate into annual numbers coming off the boil.