Housing industry 'rebound' observed

The housebuilding industry showed signs of recovering during the first quarter, with the number of new properties started jumping by 26%.





A total of 29,140 homes were begun during the three months to the end of March, 26% more than during the the previous quarter and the highest level since the second quarter of 2008, according to Communities and Local Government.



The increase follows two consecutive quarters during which housebuilding numbers had fallen, while the level of starts was 88% higher than when figures hit their low in the first quarter of 2009.



Within the total, house building by private developers was up by 24%, while starts by housing associations jumped by 37%.



But commentators warned that although the increase in new build numbers was good news, it was likely to reflect the fact that starts had been impacted during the previous quarter by the bad weather.



Although the number of new homes started in the 12 months to March rose by 22% to 106,590, this was also still around half the level that is needed to meet growing demand.



The housebuilding industry was hit hard by the credit crunch as developers struggled to raise the finance they needed, while consumers could not get mortgages to buy new homes.



The problems led to many sites being mothballed, while other planned developments were never started.



Simon Rubinsohn, chief economist at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said: "Data released this morning shows a welcome rebound in housing starts in the first quarter of the year, but this increase largely reflects a recovery from the weather-induced weak reading for the final three months of last year.



"Even allowing for this improvement, the underlying picture still remains a cause for some concern. The trend rate in delivery for housing starts is currently running at little more than 100,000 per annum, against estimates of new household formation running at more than double this figure."



The number of new homes being built has been on a gradually upward trend since the beginning of 2009, despite the dip seen in the second half of 2010.



This recovery is now beginning to feed through into an increase in the number of properties that are completed, with finished homes rising by 25% during the first quarter to 29,380.



A total of 105,930 homes were finished during the year to the end of March, 7% less than during the previous 12 months and around 60% below pre-credit crunch levels.



The number of new homes started was higher in all regions of England during the year to the end of March, with London seeing the biggest jump at 52%, while the South East saw the highest number of properties begun at 19,740.



But when the first quarter is compared with the same period of 2010, the number of new homes started actually fell in the North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humber and the West Midlands.



Housing minister Grant Shapps said: "Today's figures are welcome, but they are only the start of the story.



"The construction industry that builds the homes this country desperately needs can also expect more help.



"We will work closely with housebuilders and listen to their suggestions about how we can improve, and continue to strip away the bureaucracy and red tape that for so long has piled unfair costs on this vital sector of our economy."









Campbell Robb, chief executive of housing charity Shelter, said: "While house building figures released today show housing starts have increased over the last quarter, it is still a pretty bleak picture for housing with delivery nowhere near meeting need.



"Changes mapped out in the Localism Bill giving local government more power over housing and planning decisions mean it is now absolutely essential that local authorities start to prioritise spending on housing delivery so people in their area can access a decent and secure home.



"Building more homes is the only way we can solve our housing crisis."

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss