The UK built more than 200,000 new homes for the first time since the financial crisis

 
Emma Haslett
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Housebuilding jumped 15 per cent over the last year (Source: Getty)

Housebuilders constructed the most new homes since the financial crisis in 2016-17, official data has shown, suggesting attempts to boost supply are beginning to work.

The UK built 217,350 new homes last year, data from the Department for Communities and Local Government showed - 15 per cent more than the 189,650 homes built in 2015-16.

However, the figure is still below the pre-crisis peak in 2007-08, when 223,530 new homes were built.

In the capital, some boroughs were more prolific than others: while the City of London built the fewest new homes in the UK, alongside the Isles of Scilly, 23 out of 33 boroughs showed some increase, while 10 showed decreases.

The figures will be regarded as encouraging for the government, which has worked to increase housebuilding in recent years with measures such as the controversial Help to Buy scheme, which has propped up housebuilders by giving first-time buyers cash to buy new build homes.

Read more: House price reductions have hit a five-year high, but may not be enough

The news came on the same day both the Prime Minister and communities secretary Sajid Javid dropped heavy hints next week's Budget will contain more help for housebuilders.

In a speech, Theresa May said the Budget will contain measures to build "more homes, more quickly".

Read more: House price growth has edged to an 11-month high - as growth in London slid

Meanwhile, Javid said the government will wipe housing associations' debt off the balance sheet.

"There are many, many faults in our housing market, dating back many, many years. If you only fix one you’ll make some progress, but not enough. This is a big problem and we have to think big.”

However, industry insiders remained sceptical.

“With the Autumn Budget just under a week away and housing set to be a key focus, we hope the government will introduce a variety of reforms to boost housing, including more funding for the supply side and an injection of urgency into the planning system," said Craig Hall, new build manager at Legal & General Mortgage Club.

“The government has expressed [it is] keen to embrace modern methods of construction (MMCs), due to improved efficiency in both speed and precision. Couple this with the potential impact Brexit could have on the availability of skilled labour in the UK, an update on the Housing White Paper’s proposal for a single accreditation scheme for MMCs needs to be considered.”

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