Government figures reveal completions at lowest level since 1923

House building completions fell to their lowest level for 88 years last year, according to figures released today.

Just 102,570 homes were completed in England in 2010, down 13% on 2009 and the lowest number since 1923.

The figures came as the government published details of the New Homes Bonus, which aims to kickstart the flagging housebuilding industry.

Housing minister Grant Shapps announced £200m in cash bonuses for communities wishing to build homes as part of the first wave of the scheme.

Under the programme the government will match the council tax raised from new homes for the first six years, which for an affordable home will mean an extra £350 per house each year.

Shapps confirmed the bonus will also apply to any empty properties brought back into use.

Steve Turner of the Home Builders Federation warned housebuilders needed clarity on planning policy and localism for the new scheme to have an effect.

“Today’s figures reveal the extent of the housing crisis and we need real action now to prevent the crisis deepening.

“The problem is that we have a planning system in the midst of radical change, expensive and unnecessary red tape and a shortage of mortgage availability.

“The New Homes Bonus is a key part of this and going to be a very important way of incentivising local authorities and communities to enable more homes to be built in their areas. We welcome the detail published today, but this alone is no silver bullet and more action is needed.”

To view the full government report, click here.