Number of new homes in England falls to lowest peacetime level since 1923

Julian Harris
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THE NUMBER of completed new homes in England has plummeted to its lowest level during peacetime since 1923, the Department of Communities and Local Government said yesterday.

New housing completions totalled just 102,570 last year, down 13 per cent on 2009.

“Today’s figures reveal the extent of the housing crisis and we need real action now to prevent the crisis deepening,” said Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation.

“The problem is that we have a planning system in the midst of radical change, expensive and unnecessary red tape and a shortage of mortgage availability.”

New starts of house construction in England also fell in the three months to December, compared to the third quarter of the year.

Seasonally adjusted house building starts stood at just 23,000 in the final quarter of 2010 – 11 per cent lower than the previous quarter.

London and the south east were among the only four regions in which housing starts were lower in the December quarter 2010 than at the same time in 2009.

Last week the Institute of Directors called for a relaxation of restrictions on building on the green belt, while OECD economists have argued that the UK should “reassess its land use policies.”