Housing construction in England is on the rise, but the government is still well short of its target of delivering 1 million new homes by 2020, according to official figures.
Builders started work on more than 36,000 homes in the three months leading up to the EU referendum in June, according to data that was published last week – up 6 percent on the same time period last year. In the first six months of the year, construction began on 144,280 homes, a two per cent increase on the year before.
The rise in the past three months was entirely down to the development for sale at market rates, with starts by private householders growing 10 per cent year on year, while start by housing associations and councils fell by nearly 12 percent.
The Conservatives pledged to build a million homes by the year 2020 after they won last year’s election. But based on the rate that we are moving at, they are set to miss out on that target by more than 250,000.
The housebuilding shortfall could be exacerbated by the UK’s decision to leave the EU, recent market data suggests. Earlier this week, researchers at Capital Economics said the uncertainty unleashed by the vote was set to result in an 8 percent drop in new housing starts in the coming year.
The first signs of a slowdown have begun to emerge, with mortgage lending in the month after the referendum down by one per cent on the previous year. Banks and building societies lent £25.1 billion in gross new lending in July, according to the figures released last week. The same figures also show that sales are also down. Although housing transactions in July held steady on the previous month, they were still around 8 percent lower than the same period last year.
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