Homes England has published its latest annual housing statistics, which reveal a significant increase in the number of affordable homes being built in England
From 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019, there were 45,692 new houses started on site under programmes managed by Homes England and 40,289 houses completed. These are the highest levels of starts for nine years and the highest levels of completions for four years.
Of the starts on site, 30,563 (67%) were for affordable homes, a 10% increase on 2017-18. These are the highest numbers of affordable home starts for five years. Similarly, 28,710 (71%) of housing completions in 2018-19 were for affordable homes which is an 11% increase on 2017-18 figures and the highest numbers for four years.
A total of 17,772 affordable homes started in 2018-19 were for Affordable Rent – a 4% increase on the previous year – and 11,560 were for schemes including Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy – a 24% increase on 2017-18. The remaining 1,231 were for Social Rent, a 12% decrease on the previous 12 months.
Nick Walkley, chief executive of Homes England, commented: “At a time where the average house costs around eight times the average income, these are positive signs that the delivery of homes, and particularly affordable homes, is on the up.
“However, there is still a huge amount of work to do to make sure this trend continues. We’re just getting started and need the sector to join us in our mission to make sure we continue to deliver homes across the country for the people who need them the most.”
Joseph Daniels, founder of modular developer Project Etopia, said: “Homes England are taking on the housing crisis with a sustained dose of horsepower. The nine-year high in its housebuilding rate sends a clear signal that it has built up a head of steam, which is helping to propel the market and housing supply forward.
“Good progress in the past four years, with starts rising year on year, takes its building levels almost back to the high seen just after the financial crisis although there is still a long way to go to satisfy the existing deficit.
“All eyes are on this rebound, in the hope it marks the start of a concerted push to new levels of affordable home building in England, coinciding as it does with a renewed political focus on the housing crisis in recent years.
“Although the government’s overall pace of building remains roughly 10,000 homes off target, Homes England could make considerable inroads here and close this gap significantly over the next few years.”