The government must do more to meet pledges to build affordable homes for first-time buyers, industry commentators have warned.
Latest data from the 24-page department for communities and local government quarterly statistics for England showed that approximately 40,300 homes were started in England in the first quarter.
This was a mere 10 per cent rise on the first quarter of 2014. Some 34,040 were actually completed, but figures before the recession in 2007 showed completions on average of 50,000 a quarter. It has been estimated that the UK needs at least 200,000 new homes a year to meet demand.
Jeremy Duncombe, director for Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “It is encouraging to see a rise in house building in the UK but there is still a significant gap between the number of houses being built and the number that are needed.
“A lack of homes means that prices are pushed up, stopping many people from realising their goal of homeownership.”
BSA chief executive, Robin Fieth called on the new government to deliver a long-term strategy to counter the housing crisis, saying: “The single most important thing our new government can do for housing in the early days of this parliament is to set in motion a long-term plan based on national and regional demographics, infrastructure, employment and environmental concerns.”
Andy Frankish, new-build director for London-based Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: “The fact that there are now more building starts than at any point since the recession hopefully shows this is the beginning of a sustained period of growth for UK housebuilding.
“Custom build could be the key to getting UK housebuilding back on track, as it provides consumers with affordable homes that meet their needs and slashes risk and costs for builders.”