New home building in UK up 23% last year, latest figures show

New home building in the UK increased by 23% last year with some 122,590 residential properties being constructed, the highest figure since 2007, official figures reveal.

The data also shows that despite the poor weather conditions this winter, work on new homes in the last three months of 2013 was also up by 23% compared to the same period in 2012.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles that boosting the construction market is an essential part of the government’s long term economic plan and it is prioritising limited financial resources and ensuring progress continues to be made across the whole housing market.

He pointed out that since 2011 almost 58,000 households have been helped onto the housing ladder, with over 38,000 in new build properties through Help to Buy and other schemes. The result is that house builders are using this momentum in the housing market to increase output, because if people can buy homes, builders will build them.

Overall almost 100,000 affordable homes have been delivered through the affordable homes programme, which is on track to deliver 170,000 new homes by 2015, he added.

Also, construction orders are growing at their fastest rate for 10 years, providing a boost to thousands of small businesses that supply building materials to developers. Almost a million independent firms are involved in the construction industry, accounting for 20% of all small and medium sized companies.

The National House Building Council recently reported housing registrations rose by 30% in England in 2013, and in London by 60%, the highest annual total since their records began 26 years ago; registrations across the country are at their highest since 2007. And according to the Office for National Statistics new orders in residential construction have risen to their highest level since 2007.

‘Last year we built the most homes since 2007, and even the appalling weather conditions this winter have not stopped our hardy builders from getting the job done. That means an increase in small firms benefiting from the surge in construction orders, and more business confidence in the economy,’ said Pickles.

‘None of this would have been possible without our tough action to cut the deficit and keep interest rates low. We have also prioritised resources to increase the number of affordable homes, and help credit worthy buyers onto the housing ladder. But there’s still more to do, and improving the housing market will remain a vital part of our long term economic plan,’ he explained.

A regional breakdown shows that in Winchester, Hampshire, starts increased by over 150%, in Horsham, Surrey, the rise was 45%, in Wychavon, Worcestershire, starts increased by 60%, in North West Leicestershire there was a rise of over 25% and in Corby, Northamptonshire they were up by over 30%.

Progress was replicated in every area of the housing market. Compared to 2012 starts by private builders were up 24%, while starts by housing associations increased by 24% and councils by 23%.