More new houses started in England at the end of last year, data shows

House building in England increased by 6% in the last quarter of 2011 compared with the previous three months, the latest figures from the Department of Communities and Local Government.

Seasonally adjusted house building starts stood at 25,240 in the December quarter of 2011, some 74% above the trough in the March quarter 2009, but 48% below the December quarter peak of 2005.

Private enterprise housing starts (seasonally adjusted) were 6% above the September quarter of 2011 while starts by housing associations were 1% higher than the previous quarter.

Housing completions in England (seasonally adjusted) also increased, up 2% from 26,180 in the September quarter of 2011 to 26,730 in the December quarter of 2011.

Completions by housing associations (seasonally adjusted) increased by 12% between the September quarter of 2011 and the December quarter. However, private enterprise housing completions were 2% lower in the December 2011 quarter than in the September 2011 quarter.

Annual housing starts reached 98,250 in the 12 months to December 2011, down by 4% compared with the 12 months to December 2010. Annual housing completions in England totalled 109,020 in the 12 months to September 2011, an increase of 6% compared with the 12 months to December 2010.

Starts were up by 3% in the East region and by 1% in the North West and London in the 12 months to December 2011 compared with the 12 months to December 2010. In all other regions starts declined over this period. Yorkshire and the Humber saw the largest fall at 17%.

In the 12 month period ending December 2011, the number of housing starts was highest in the South East at 18,430 and lowest in the North East at 3,930, accounting for 19% and 4% respectively of starts in England.

Completions increased in all regions except the North West. The largest increase was in the North East where completions rose by 13% in the 12 months to September 2011 relative to the previous 12 month period. London saw an increase of 11% and Yorkshire and the Humber had 8% more completions than the previous year. In the North West annual completions fell by 9%.

The South East region saw the largest number of new build homes completed at 20,300, accounting for 19% of completions in England. The North East was the region with the fewest housing completions at 5,090, accounting for 5% of the England total. This partly reflects the fact that the North East is the smallest region in terms of housing stock with only 5% of dwellings.