Housing supply rate hits ten-year low

The number of new homes added to England's housing stock fell to its lowest level for more than 10 years in 2012/13, according to new government statistics.

New homes: supply slowed last year
New homes: supply slowed last year

Just 124,720 new properties were added to the nation’s housing stock during the 12-month period, an eight per cent decrease on the previous year’s 134,900.

The figure is the lowest recorded under the current Office for National Statistics (ONS) mechanism, which uses the dwelling counts from the 2001 Census and 2011 Census as its baselines, then projects forward.

The previous low year was 2000/01, when net housing supply was recorded as 132,000 dwellings, while the highest level was recorded in 2007/08, when 223,530 homes were added to England’s stock.

According to the ONS' Net Supply of Housing 2012-2013 document, the latest decrease was "primarily" due to 9,620 fewer new-build completions than in the previous year.

A breakdown of the latest year’s figures showed 118,540 new build completions, 12,780 changes of use, 4,100 conversions, and 1,370 other gains, counterbalanced with around 12,000 demolitions.

The ONS said Corby, Epsom and Ewell and Uttlesford had the top three net addition rates per 1,000 dwellings in the country.

The statistics also showed high rates of net additions per 1,000 dwellings in areas to the north and east of York, south Norfolk and the Leicestershire area.

Prominent areas where net additional dwelling levels reduced were around Kent, Newcastle Upon Tyne, and Northumberland.

Richard Tamayo, commercial director of the National House-Building Council (NHBC), said the latest figures illustrated the depressed state of housebuilding in recent years.

"NHBC’s own registration statistics are showing a 25 per cent increase so far in housing starts during 2013 against the comparable period in 2012, which suggests there should be better news on housing completion in the pipeline for 2013/14 and beyond," he said.

"There is, however no room whatsoever for complacency. Even allowing for the welcome increases seen in housing production in recent months, England still probably needs to double housing output if it is to provide sufficient decent affordable housing for its growing population in the coming decades.

"The sheer size of this challenge is likely to place huge demands on planning and land use in England."

In a statement issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government, new housing minister Kris Hopkins said housing start data – which is not included in the ONS figures, which are based on completions – was showing an improving picture.

"The popularity of our Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme has led developers to increase their build rates, and with the latest construction data showing output at its best since 2007 and the biggest increase in construction jobs for six years, I'm confident that these figures will continue to improve," he said.

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