Figure is still 9% lower than same time last year and 39% below 2006 peak

Housing starts rose 63% in the three months to June on the previous quarter according to new government figures. There were an estimated 29,980 seasonally adjusted housing starts in England in the June quarter 2009, which is almost double the number produced in the run-up to Christmas in the depths of the recession.

However, the figure is still down 9% on the same quarter last year, when the downturn had only just started to take hold. And it is still 39% lower than the peak in starts achieved in 2006 at the top of the market.

Annual housing start figures for England continued to decline, totalling 87,190 in the 12 months to June 2009, down 41% compared with the 12 months to June 2008 and 53% down below the 2005-2006 peak.

Completions this quarter were also up, running at 39,320, and showing the first year-on-year increase in quarterly completions since the end of 2007.

Brigid O’Leary, RICS senior economist, said the increase had seemed likely after housing inventories had been run down but was good news nonetheless.

“This morning’s release of second quarter figures for housebuilding in England provides further evidence that the dramatic scaling back in housebuilding activity since the onset of the credit crunch has probably run its course.”