New house building lowest since 1923

Published:  18 February, 2011

LONDON: The number of new homes completed in England last year fell to its lowest level since 1923, according to government figures released yesterday.

Last year 102 570 properties were built: 13% less than in the previous year, and the lowest level during peacetime since 1923.

The number is well below the 232 000 properties it is estimated are needed to meet demand.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman, the Home Builders Federation, said: "Today's figures reveal the extent of the housing crisis and we need real action now to prevent the crisis deepening.

"The problem is that we have a planning system in the midst of radical change, expensive and unnecessary red tape and a shortage of mortgage availability.

"If we are going to weather this perfect storm, tackle the housing shortage and produce growth across the country we need early action to resolve and simplify planning, reduce regulation and encourage lenders to lend again."

The figures came as the government announced the first £200m of a new scheme to encourage local communities to build more homes has been allocated to councils.

It has set aside nearly £1bn to kick-start its New Homes Bonus initiative, which will see local authorities given extra cash for every new home built in their area. The Government estimates the scheme will lead to an additional 140 000 new homes being built in the coming 10 years.

Around 326 local authorities will share the first £200m, with Tower Hamlets getting the most at £4.3m, followed by Islington at £3.7m and Birmingham at £3.2m. Other councils making the top 10 that will receive the most from the first payout include Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Bradford and Milton Keynes.

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