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Homebuilding rises but will Tories meet their million homes pledge by 2020?

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15/01/2019
New build starts are up 12% over the last year, but still below the 2007 peak
Homebuilding rises but will Tories meet their million homes pledge by 2020?

New build dwelling starts in England are estimated at 44,740 in the third quarter of 2018, according to government figures.

This marks a 12% increase compared to the previous three months and a 12% rise on a year earlier – a significant boost – but it means the Tories are to meet their pledge to build a million new homes by 2020.

New build completions are unchanged from the previous quarter at 41,270 (seasonally adjusted), and 3% higher than a year ago.

Overall housing starts are now 161% above the trough in the March quarter of 2009 but still 9% below the March quarter 2007 peak.

Joseph Daniels, founder of modular smart homes developer Project Etopia, said: “Talk is cheap but it’s even cheaper when pledges don’t amount to very much and the Conservatives are still on course to miss their unambitious housing pledge.

“The Conservatives’ pledge effectively meant 174,000 homes needed to be built a year but that amounted to fewer than 10,000 extra homes beyond the rate the country was already building.

“A 12% annual rise in new build starts is a relatively big leap but the annual rate of building is still approximately 10,000 homes a year off the pace, with 163,420 achieved over the last 12 months. In short, housebuilding in England is still in the pits. Rapid progress will have to be made if the pledge for a million homes by 2020 is to be met. The manifesto target will effectively be met if quarter four witnesses a further 53,890 homes – a figure well beyond anything achieved in recent years.

“However, it is between 2020 and 2022, when the Conservatives have promised to build a further half a million homes, that we will really be able to judge whether their commitment to solving the housing crisis really cuts the mustard.”

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