20 Feb, 2014


House building starts at highest levels since 2007

Government figures released today show a significant increase in house building activity last year – driven by the Government’s Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme. There were 122,590 new homes started in 2013 up 23% on the previous year. It is the highest number of new homes started in a year since 2007.

The figures show confidence is returning to the house building industry aided by the launch of the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme for new build homes last April. In the three quarters since   April, private starts were up 29% on the same nine months in 2012.

The biggest constraint on supply since 2008 has been people’s inability to buy. The Equity Loan scheme is delivering around 2,500 new home reservations a month and in total has resulted in over 25,000 reservations, mostly to First-Time Buyers. 

This increased demand is enabling builders to ramp up production on site. Builders are building out existing sites more quickly and looking to start on new sites sooner.

Speaking today, Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the HBF, said;

“These are just the latest stats to show a big increase in house building activity. It is now clear, after a number of difficult years that saw housing supply levels drop to a record low, that house building is now increasing significantly.

“Help to Buy is increasing demand for new homes and the industry is responding. People’s inability to buy in recent years has been the biggest constraint on the industry’s efforts to build more homes. If people can buy, builders will build. Help to Buy is allowing people who can afford to buy a home to do so, meaning builders can get on with building the homes the country needs.”

“As a result of this increase in activity, the industry is recruiting a significant number of people. The supply chain is also gearing up to meet the increased level of demand, generating an economic boost the length and breadth of the country.

“We are though still building at a rate well short of the number of homes the country requires. Government needs to continue to implement policies that result in a rate of house building that meets the country’s need. Doing so will deliver significant economic and social benefits.“

Jeff Fairburn Chief Executive of Persimmon said:

"Help to Buy has had an impact on the housing market, by addressing the issues of restricted mortgage availability and large deposits that were preventing many potential homeowners from buying a home of their own.  We expect this impact to continue as people come to fully understand the scheme.

"To meet increased demand, we have stepped up our investment in land and construction, and we aim to open 170 new sites this year. Forty have already been launched and our 24 businesses are working hard to open a further 130 before the close of 2014 where we have implementable planning consents. This will obviously create many new jobs and enable us to continue our drive to also bring more apprentices and young people into the business."

Pete Redfern, Chief Executive of Taylor Wimpey said:

“We are building more homes on the sites we have already got open and we are investing in future sites and infrastructure, which creates more jobs and economic activity locally”

Mark Clare, Chief Executive of Barratt said:

“We are materially increasing the number of new homes we are building as a result of the continued recovery in the housing market across all regions and the £3bn investment we have made in new land over the last 4 years.  In the last 6 months we’ve increased our completions by 19% compared with the same period the year before.  We are targeting the construction of 16,000 homes in 2016 – another significant step up and are investing in apprentices and graduates to ensure that we achieve that.”

Jim Wren, Chief Executive of Strata Homes said;

“Strata are pleased to report a significant upturn in sales numbers as a result of increased customer confidence, improved lending arrangements and particularly the introduction of the Government backed Help to Buy Equity Loan Scheme. We are confident of this increased demand continuing and have accelerated our build rates accordingly.”

These are just the latest stats this year that show a clear increase in house building

In January, NHBC announced registrations were up 28% in 2013 CITB stated that private housing will be the chief driver for wider construction growth and will account for over a third of construction output. It estimated that 185,000 new construction jobs will be created.  ow.ly/t3QAS The ONS reported last week that private sector house building rose 5.1% in December and was up 21.6% from a year earlier.

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For media enquiries, or to arrange an interview, please contact Steve Turner on 020 7960 1606 / steve.turner@hbf.co.uk

Notes to editors

1.      The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the representative body of the home building industry in England and Wales. The HBF’s member firms account for some 80% of all new homes built in England and Wales in any one year, and include companies of all sizes, ranging from multi-national, household names through regionally based businesses to small local companies: www.hbf.co.uk

2.     Click here to view the CLG stats