The number of new homes started in England across the last three months of 2018 fell sharply compared with the previous quarter, new government figures have revealed.
The number of starts on new properties across all tenures was 40,580 in the three months to December, down 8% on the three months between July and September. Starts were also down 2.3% on the same period in 2017.
The statistics come from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s new build dwellings quarterly data, the government’s secondary indicator for housing supply behind its annual net additional dwellings data. It is sometimes treated with caution by housing experts due to it routinely under-reporting overall output.
According to the data, housing association starts fell 11% compared with the previous quarter to 5,970. Private house builders were responsible for 33,680 starts, while local authorities built 930 across the period. This was more than three times higher than the 250 homes started by local authorities across the same period last year.
Completions edged up 2% to 42,790 compared with the previous quarter. The figure was 1% higher than the October-December quarter in 2017.
The government figures come after the National Housing Federation (NHF) published its quarterly supply survey covering the last three months of the year. The survey, which is seen as the primary indicator of housing starts in the sector, recorded 11,456 housing starts across the three months up to and including December.
It also showed that a total of 1,707 social rent homes were started in the three months to last December – the highest quarterly number since the NHF started collecting figures three years ago.
Last November, housing minister Kit Malthouse told Inside Housing that the percentage of social rented housing being built is not enough.