The number of new build homes under construction in the UK has fallen to the slowest quarterly rate for three years, new government figures have revealed. 

The data, published by the housing ministry, revealed that construction on new build homes (37,220) was 8% down on the same period (April-June) a year ago. This is a 2% decrease compared to the previous three months.

The quarterly figures announced indicate the government is falling behind with its homebuilding targets, and analysts have warned that the slump in housing starts could be predictive of a future downturn in completions. 

Joseph Daniels, founder of Project Etopia, said: “Unless there is a swift reversal in fortunes in the final six months of the year, this is going to translate into fewer completions in 2020.

“This serves as a wake-up call to the government. There is still enormous hunger out there for housing. However, the industry does not seem capable of ridding itself of the self-defeating, cyclical pattern that has always haunted it.”

Time For a New Approach

Under Theresa May, the government had set a target to build 300,000 homes a year, which has been continued by current ministers. Overall, annual new build dwelling starts totalled 160,640 in the year to June 2019, a 1% fall from 2018.

The scale of the homebuilding crisis was evidenced further last month with the news that first-time buyers in Britain could face a 150% average price increase over the next three decades. And this cannot be expected to be sustainable. 

Custom and self builds are playing a key part in breaking the traditional mould through which new housing is delivered, with NaCSBA estimating current self build levels in the UK are between 13.5-14,000 each year.

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, CEO of NaCSBA, said: “Self and custom build provides valuable additional homes that help diversify the market. In addition, it’s a valuable stream of work for SME builders and trades, boosting local economies. As such, the sector is fairly resilient to market sensibilities.”

Meanwhile, Graven Hill is one of the influential sites transforming the self build movement through the creation of self build communities, helping people building a home for the first time, expanding a home for a growing family, or building a property better suited to your needs.

“There is still much more to do…”

One of the positives from the government’s data was that the number of houses completed rose by 8% over the year to June to 173,660. This is the highest level in 11 years. 

While housing secretary Robert Jenrick welcomed these statistics, he admitted that the government is still behind in meeting its targets. 

“The data released is hugely welcome, with the number of new homes built reaching an 11-year high. We are moving in the right direction, but there is still much more to do if we are going to deliver the numbers needed by communities up and down the country.”

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