Signs of life in housebuilding as housing starts rise 6% in second quarter

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The number of housing starts in England rose 6% in the second quarter of this year, and 7% year-on-year, the latest official figures have shown.

The Department for Communities and Local Government statistics (attached right) showed housing starts in England rose 6% to 29,510  in the second quarter of the year compared to the first quarter, with completions up 9% to 27,270.

Private housing starts were 7% quarter-on-quarter, but starts by housing associations were 3% lower.

Private completions rose 11%  and housing association completions increased by 3% quarter-on-quarter.

Overall housing starts are now 73% above the trough in the March quarter 2009 but 40% below the March quarter 2007 peak.

Completions are 44% below their March quarter 2007 peak.

Over the 12 months to June 2013, housing starts rose 7% to 110,530 compared with the year before.

Annual housing completions in England totalled 106,820 in the 12 months to June 2013, a fall of 9% on the previous 12 months.

Rhian Kelly, CBI director for business environment policy, said: “These are early signs of a pick-up but we need to put it in perspective.

“We’ve been falling woefully short of building the homes we need for decades. There’s huge pent-up demand which is just not being met – from first-time buyers and from second-steppers looking to get on the next rung of the ladder.”