On a quarterly basis, new build dwelling starts in England were estimated at 40,580 in the latest quarter, an 8% decrease compared to the previous three months and a 2% decrease on a year earlier.
However, statistics form The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government also showed completions were estimated at 42,970, seasonally adjusted, a 2% increase from the previous quarter and 1% higher than a year ago.
Andy Sommerville, director at Search Acumen, said: “Housebuilding continued steadily as we ended 2018, with no change in new build dwelling and a 1% increase in completions year-on-year.
“We’ve made considerable progress compared to five years ago, however there is still progress to be made towards reaching the house-building highs we experienced before the financial crisis.
“New builds are a promising development, but as last year’s Letwin Review showed us, the problems the property sector has faced didn’t necessarily come from us building too little homes – it’s that we aren’t building the right homes, in the right places, for the right people.
“We’re hoping that the planning reforms that the Treasury announced in the Spring Statement will address some of these issues as the industry seeks avenues to make it easier to build more homes on more land.
“Through the provision of accurate and reliable data, local authorities will be able to unlock land and develop new and attractive homes for a variety of income brackets. Going into 2019, it is now important that we improve data accessibility and keep our foot on the gas.”
Annual new build dwelling starts totalled 165,160 in the year to December 2018, no change compared with the year to December 2017. During the same period, completions totalled 165,090, an increase of 1% compared with last year.
Starts by housing associations are 11% lower compared to the last quarter, but completions are up by 4%. All starts are now 137% above the trough in the March quarter 2009 and 17% below the March quarter 2007 peak.