From 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 there were more houses being built and completed, including affordable homes, Homes England’s housing statistics have shown.
There were 45,692 housing starts, the highest level for nine years, and 40,289 housing completions delivered through Homes England programmes, excluding London, the highest for four years.
Some 30,563 or 67% of housing starts on site in 2018-19 were for affordable homes, up 10% year-on-year and the highest for five years.
Mark Dyason, managing director of the development finance specialist, Thistle Finance, said: “Based on this evidence, homes in England are finally starting to be built in earnest.
“For housing start levels to be the highest in nine years, despite the ever-present uncertainty of Brexit, shows there’s hope for the property market yet.
“So extreme is the supply deficit that developers are proceeding with projects as they feel hedged against the political headwinds. Crucially, homes are not just being built in greater numbers but are selling in greater numbers, with the increase in affordable housing especially welcome.
“Help to Buy is attracting growing criticism at present but it has without doubt had an impact on purchase levels in recent years. It helps that for experienced and financially strong developers there are opportunities aplenty and no shortage of finance options.
“While there is political stasis, the development finance market remains fluid and this is showing through in these strong numbers.”
Some 17,772 affordable homes started in 2018-19 were for affordable rent, an increase of 4% on the 17,159 started in 2017-18. A further 11,560 were for intermediate affordable housing schemes, including Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy, 24% more year-on-year.
The remaining 1,231 were for social rent, a decrease of 12% on the 1,406 started in 2017-18.
Of the affordable homes started in 2018-19, the highest delivering programmes were: Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme (SOAHP) with 89%, up from 71% in 2017-18, and the Affordable Homes Programme (AHP) with 4.6%, down from 21% in 2017-18.
Some 28,710 (71%) of housing completions in 2018-19 were for affordable homes, 11% more year-on-year and the highest for four years.
In addition, 18,895 affordable homes completed in 2018-19 were for affordable rent, 4% fewer than the year before. A further 8,854 were for intermediate affordable housing schemes, including Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy, an increase of 75% on the 5,069 completed in 2017-18.
The remaining 961 were for Social Rent, a 1% reduction on the 970 completed in 2017-18. Of the affordable homes completed in 2018-19, the highest delivering programmes were the SOAHP 2016-21 with 55% and the AHP 2015-18 with 39%.
Joseph Daniels, founder of modular developer Project Etopia, added: “Homes England are taking on the housing crisis with a sustained dose of horsepower.
“The nine-year high in its house building 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.”