According to the latest government housebuilding data, in the first quarter of this year, the number of new homes built was the highest figure for more than 20 years. When you consider there’s a shortage of houses to meet the demand, this is welcome news for all. Here’s more information about the figures.
Highest quarterly completions for 20 years
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) for England recently shared Building Control Data showing almost 50,000 new homes were built in the first three months of this year. The total number of home completions from January to March 2021, amounted to 49,470, which is an increase of 21% on the same period of time in 2020. The figures are also 4% up on the end of the previous year, the last three months of 2020. You could say the industry has been doing some much-needed catch up since the pandemic struck.
The last time there was a similar peak in the number of completions, was pre-recession in March 2007, however this year’s quarterly figures are 2% higher. The MHCLG confirm these figures are the highest seen since they started recording these seasonal figures in 2000.
Figures for Housing starts
There was also an increase in the number of housing starts for the first quarter of the year. From January to March 2021, the number of new homes being started grew 35% year-on-year to 46,010, which is an increase of 7% on the same quarter the year before. While the number of starts were the highest since March 2007, this year’s figures are slightly behind by 6% for the same period.
When you look at the data across the year as a whole, the pandemic has clearly had an impact on the number of housing starts. The number fell to 140,170 for the year ending March 2021, which is a drop of 4% compared to the previous year, 2020 and pre-pandemic. You can make the same comparison with the number of yearly completions too. The yearly data shows the impact of the pandemic, with completions falling by 11% to 155,960, compared to the year ending March 2020.
New homes by area
Interestingly, the data from the MHCLG showed that in the year 2020/21, houses dominated the number of new properties being built. They made up 81% of all new build properties, a significant proportion against flats, which hasn’t been seen since the turn of millennium.
In terms of the number of new homes started, London saw the most significant increase with the number of new starts there 18% higher than the year to March 2020. Likewise, the North East saw more homes being started, the figures being 10% higher than the previous year. It was the North West which saw the largest decrease in new home starts, down 13% on the year ending March 2020.
For new home completions, all regions of the country saw a decrease in the year from March 2020 to March 2021. Of course, this will be down to the effects of the pandemic. However, the smallest decrease was in the North West with a 6% decrease, while the region with the largest increase in new home completions was the East of England, which saw a 17% rise.
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