THE LEVEL of housebuilding in the UK has hit a two-year low, new government figures show.
Official data shows the number of completed new builds totalled 160,470 in the first quarter of 2018, down four per cent annually and a nine per cent decline on the end of 2017.
The number of new developments in the process of being built fell five per cent on a quarterly basis and eight per cent annually to 38,160.
The data shows that developments started by private enterprises in the first quarter were down three per cent, while completions fell nine per cent.
New housing association development was also down 14 per cent over the quarter, with completions down 10 per cent.
The data looks slightly better when looking at the number of homes built in the 12 months to March 2018, with completions up eight per cent annually to 157,480, while new starts fell three per cent to 157,480.
These stats may underline the consequences of a lack of finance for developers that many property peer-to-peer lenders are trying to address.
The figures prompted other property commentators to call for more to be done to boost housing supply.
Andy Sommerville, director at conveyancing software provider Search Acumen, warned the housebuilding figures were heading in the wrong direction.
“After an encouraging period of increased output in the housebuilding sector, we have suffered the UK’s lowest quarterly housing output for two years,” he said.
“A nose-dive in completed dwellings at the start of 2018 – down from nearly 46,000 a year ago and 55,000 at the end of 2017 to below 39,000 – amounts to a sharp turn in the wrong direction.
“The private sector has been particularly affected: despite building the majority of new homes, completions are noticeably down year-on-year while housing associations and local authorities have both increased their output.
“Last year we forecasted a housing shortfall of almost a million homes by 2022 if the UK doesn’t act immediately to correct the course of the housing market. Despite this urgent need, the void between supply and demand is still widening by the day, continuing to push house prices towards the limit of what first-time-buyers can afford.”
Peer2Peer Finance News held a property roundtable last month to discuss how to boost housebuilding. Read our full coverage of the event in the July issue of the magazine.