Housing-building rates slow as prices continue to rise

PUBLISHED: 11:42 25 August 2019

House-building rates have slowed. Picture: PA/Andrew Matthews

House-building rates have slowed. Picture: PA/Andrew Matthews

PA Wire/PA Images

A housing group has spoken out after a new survey indicates fewer homes were built in North Somerset last year.

According to the Ministry of Housing, communities and local government data, 600 homes were built - five per cent - fewer than the previous year.

It also indicates work started on 240 homes over the same period, is down from 290 in the previous year.

Across England, house building rose by six per cent over the same period.

Member of the Churchill and Langford Residents Action Group, Jan Murray said: "From our perspective this is a real concern, there's a huge need for new homes and particularly affordable ones for young people.

"One of the major problems in North Somerset is the relentless increase in the cost of a home, pushing it so far out of reach for many people.

"The key question is where should new homes be built?

"Everyone knows these homes are needed close to the employment in Bristol.

"It's one of the fastest employment growth areas in the country. "

From April 2018 to March 2019, 169,770 houses were completed in England and 82 per cent of them were built by private enterprises.

Senior policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation - a think tank that works to improve living standards - Lindsay Judge, said the housing market cannot rely solely on the private sector to increase the supply of homes.

She said: "While the number of new homes completed in England has increased in the last year, the number of starts has barely increased at all.

"The Government looks set to fall well short of its ambition of creating an extra 300,000 new homes every year.

"It is unlikely the Government will ever hit its target unless there is a step change in house-building across both the private and public sectors.

"They have made sensible steps to encourage local authorities to build but more needs to be done.

"The Government should do more especially to increase the number of affordable homes built for those that aren't going to be able buy properties at full market value any time soon."

North Somerset had been earmarked for 25,000 homes to be built between 2016-36, but the Joint Spatial Plan for the West of England drew inspectors' criticism last month and will need to be revised.

The masterplan included building homes in Weston and garden villages close to Banwell and Churchill.

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