House building boost across Huntingdonshire revealed in new figures

There was an increase in house-building in Huntingdonshire last year. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

There was an increase in house-building in Huntingdonshire last year. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

More new houses were built in Huntingdonshire last year, according to newly-released data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

From April 2018 to March 2019, about 850 new homes were built - 42 per cent more than over the previous year.

The growth rate is much higher than the average for England, where house building rose by six per cent over the same period.

The data includes just new properties built from scratch, and doesn't take into account conversions of houses into several flats or changes of use from an office to a home.

Private developers in Huntingdonshire built most of the new residential houses - about 68 per cent. The rest were built by housing associations.

Work also started on an additional 760 new homes over the same period in Huntingdonshire, down from 930 in the previous year.

Lindsay Judge, senior policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, a think tank that works to improve living standards, said the housing market cannot rely solely on the private sector to increase the supply of homes.

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She said: "While the number of new homes completed in England has increased in the last year, the number of starts has barely increased at all, and the Government looks set to fall well short of its ambition of creating an extra 300,000 new homes every year.

"It is unlikely that the Government will ever hit its target unless there is a step change in housebuilding across both the private and public sectors."

From April 2018 to March 2019, around 169,770 new houses were completed in England, far behind the Government's target. About 82 per cent of them were built by private enterprises.

A spokesman from the Home Builders Federation added: "Over the past five years, Government has introduced a range of pro-development policies and the industry has responded by delivering an unprecedented 78 per cent increase in housing supply.

"However, the majority of the increases in supply have come from larger builders. If we are to reach the Government target we need to see policy focused on enabling small and medium-sized builders to play their part, as well as growing contributions from housing associations and councils."

House building in England has mostly been in decline since the 1960s, while the early years of this decade saw it at its lowest peacetime level since the 1920s.