New figures suggest Help to Buy is driving the building of new homes

But critics say that more needs to be done to tackle national housing crisis

A total of 28,580 new homes were started by private house builders in England between July, August and September, according to the latest government report, up 29 per cent on the same period last year.

It suggests that the figures show confidence is returning to the house building industry helped by the launch of the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme earlier in the year.

Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the Home Builders Federation, said: "Help to Buy is increasing demand for new homes and the industry is responding. 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.”

Mark Clare, Chief Executive of Barratt added: "If we can sell homes more quickly we can build more quickly and we are rapidly increasing production.  We now have the confidence to target the construction of 45,000 homes over the next three years and we are investing in land and bringing it through planning to meet increased demand.  We are also expanding the business by taking on 600 new apprentices and graduates to tackle the skills shortage that could constrain future growth.”

But Grainia Long, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), said the figures also showed worrying elements.

"While it is encouraging to see increases in starts and completions in the three months to September compared with the previous quarter, these figures show we are still nowhere near tackling our national housing crisis which is causing misery for millions of people who are unable to secure a decent home at a price they can afford," she said.

"Annual housing completions dropped eight per cent in the year to September to 107,950, less than half the number we need to be building to accommodate our growing population.  It is also deeply worrying to see a 25 per cent drop in the number of new build affordable homes provided in 2012 to 2013."

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive said that the figures showed that Help to Buy was failing to deliver the volume of new homes needed. "We’re building less than half of the 250,000 homes needed each year just to keep up with demand, ," he said, "and the small increase in house building starts is no way near enough to get close to this total. Worryingly the number of affordable homes built has fallen significantly, spelling disaster for the thousands of families we see every day who are struggling to cope with soaring housing costs.

"In a property market that’s already heating-up with pent-up demand, Help to Buy is a backward step. If the government is really committed to rolling up its sleeves and getting more homes built, there are plenty of more straightforward ways to do it than relying on state mortgage guarantees to fuel debt. Freeing up local authorities to build, planning new garden cities and improving access to land that can be built on are all good places to start.

"For many young people on average incomes a 95% mortgage with Help to Buy simply isn’t affordable and, coupled with rising house prices, sees the dream of a home of their own slip further and further out of reach."

Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, said: "We must not get too swept away, as we could see something of a New Year hangover as the initial blast of buyers drawn in by Help to Buy dies down and media attention dwindles. While the forthcoming Mortgage Market Regulations could also further put the footbrake on as lenders look with more caution. Coupled with this we have a severe shortage of housing, which could threaten house prices rising out of reach if it isn’t addressed imminently. While we already have Help to Buy, what we really need now is a ‘Help to Build’ scheme, and this should be a government priority moving into 2014.”

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: 3rd Line Virtualisation, Windows & Server Engineer

£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service Engineer

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Fixed Term Contract

£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...

Day In a Page

Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)