Planning permission was granted for 52,534 new homes in England in the last three months of last year, according to new figures from the Home Builders Federation
It represents the highest quarterly total since 2008. In total 174,471 planning permissions were granted in England in 2013, the highest annual figure since 2007, up 19 per cent on the previous three months.
Last week, Government figures showed the number of new homes started in 2013 was up 23 per cent.
The HBF report attributes much of the activity to the new Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme launched last April which they say is delivering around 2,500 reservations a month.
Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the HBF, said: "The increase in planning permissions will help support a continuation of the big increase in house building activity we have seen since early last year. After some very tough years, that saw housing supply drop to record low levels, it is now increasingly evident that house-building activity is on the up.
"Help to Buy Equity Loan is increasing demand for new homes and the industry is increasing its output as a result. People’s inability to buy in recent years has been the biggest constraint on the industry’s efforts to build more homes. If people can buy, builders will build. Help to Buy is allowing people who can afford to buy a home to do so, meaning builders can get on with building the homes the country needs.
Government figures released this week show that home ownership now at its lowest level since the 1980s, with more people renting than paying a mortgage.