Out-Law News | 21 Feb 2014 | 3:52 pm | 1 min. read
The overall increase has largely been driven by the government’s help to buy equity loan scheme. The Office for National Statistics housing figures, published yesterday, showed annual housing starts for 2013 totalled 122,590. However the number of Completions in 2013 fell 5% to 109,370.
Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said: "This Government is fixing the broken housing market we inherited in 2010. Last year we built the most homes since 2007, and even the appalling weather conditions this winter have not stopped our hardy builders from getting the job done."
"But there’s still more to do, and improving the housing market will remain a vital part of our long-term economic plan," he said.
Grainia Long, the chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: "While it is encouraging to see a 23 per cent increase in the number of new homes started in 2013, this rise is from a very low base.".
"We think it’s time for the Government to step in and take direct action – George Osborne has an ideal opportunity in next month’s Budget," she said. "Allowing councils to borrow more so they could build more homes for example would mean they could build 15,000 homes a year, supporting 23,500 jobs and adding £5.6bn to our economy."
Stewart Baseley, the executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, 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.’