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Figures Confirm Government is on Track for Million-Home Target

Recent government figures show that 190,000 new homes were built in England during the last financial year, 163,940 of which were new build.

This represents an increase of 11% in the number of new homes created when compared with the previous financial year of 2014 - 2015.

The Home Builders Federation greeted the stats with approval, saying that the government's goal to deliver one million new homes is ‘on track’ and that its policies in this area are encouraging supply.

HBF representatives stated that to achieve the million-home goal, an average 200,000 homes a year must be built. The new figures, which cover activity during the first parliamentary year under the Conservatives, show that the increased housing delivery has been sustained and all indicators point to additional increases in the future.

The figures demonstrate that between April 2015 and 2016, overall housing supply actually reached 200,070, an increase of 10% on the year before, but once demolitions were taken into account, the net additions actually increased by 11%. There was also an increase of 52% in available housing over the past three years.

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HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley said that the stats provide the best confirmation to date that house-builders have increased output. The government’s ambition to build one million homes during this parliament now looks to be attainable.

Mr Baseley said that Help to Buy and other positive measures brought in by the government have inspired large increases in output. If the government continues to foster an environment in which the housing industry can operate and expand, house-builders will continue to increase their output.

He said that moving forward, the house-building industry will play a pivotal role in driving Britain’s post-Brexit economy.

FMB chief executive Brian Berry said that the figures indicated that positive progress was being made toward solving the housing crisis. However, he also warned that the output still fell below the number needed annually to build one million new homes by 2020.

Mr Berry also said that the stats showed a reliance on converting existing buildings to residential use, a practice that can’t continue indefinitely. While government initiatives to increase house building are helping, more ‘radical solutions’ would likely be needed to meet the target.

Adding that the SME house building sector needed to be ‘turbo-charged’ by the government, Mr Berry said that smaller firms which once drove the housing industry, have now become incidental in the market, and that the industry’s capacity has been hampered as a result.

He acknowledged that in attempting to make financing accessible for smaller firms, the government was recognising the importance of supporting SMEs, but still more needed to be done. There was a particular need for more focus on facilitating planning permission for smaller sites, which were a core part of the SME business.

Mr Berry said that the FMB was hopeful that the government would take the needs of SME builders into account in its upcoming Housing White Paper and support measures that encourage more small scale development in its house building strategy.

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