The number of new homes recorded in England has increased to its highest level since the financial crash, official figures have revealed.
There were 155,080 new build homes built in the 2015-16 year, according to newly released data from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), up 5.7% annually, while the volume of all new residential units, including conversions, increased by 11.1% to 189,650, the highest level in eight years.
Ministers report that there has been an additional 893,000 residential units delivered since 2010 and hailed the report as proof the government had “turbo-charged” housebuilding.
“We promised to turbo-charge housebuilding so more people can have the security of their own home, and that is exactly what we are doing with the biggest increase in the number of new homes in many years,” said Gavin Barwell, housing and planning minister.
The government is due to publish a white paper on housing policy in the near future and has already vowed to provide £5bn of funding towards housebuilding schemes in recent months. It has also changed planning rules with a view to speeding up the process by fast tracking planning applications.
“We know there is more to do to ensure the housing market works for everyone and not just the privileged few and we will be setting our further details in our housing white paper shortly,” Barwell added.
However, Labour dismissed the figures as “disappointing” and said that the government must up its efforts to meet its target of one million new homes by 2020, as existing housebuilding levels in England continue to fall short of what is needed to meet that target.
A chronic housing shortage has driven up house prices and rents in recent years, particularly in London and the South East of England.
But Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, insists that the government’s target of building one million new homes over the course of this parliament “is now within reach”.
“These figures provide the best evidence to date as to how much house builders have ramped up housing supply,” he said.
Baseley said that the housebuilding industry is committed to delivering the high quality new homes the country needs to address the country’s housing crisis.
He continued: “As we build desperately needed new homes the industry is creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs directly and in the supply chain boosting local economies across the country.
“Moving forward, the house building industry will play a key role in building a new Britain and driving our post Brexit economy.”