New home completions fell by more than 10% in Q1: Gov



The number of new homes completed in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the last quarter of 2021 fell by more than 10%, according to the latest figures from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities.

The data shows that 40,720 new homes were completed between January and March this year, compared to 45,610 between October and December last year, representing a drop of 10.7%.

Despite concerns being raised that the government plans to extend the right to buy to housing association tenants would mean a fall in supply of replacement housing association properties, the latest figures show there were 7,440 housing association completions in Q1 this year, a decrease of 6.5% compared to 7,960 in Q4 2021.

The number of new homes started in Q1 totalled 42,820 homes an increase on Q4 2021’s figure of 36,030.

Earlier this month, secretary of state of levelling up, housing and communities Michael Gove attended an evidence session on the government’s levelling up plans announced last month in the Queen’s Speech.

Gove said since the record high of 244,000 new home completions pre-pandemic there has since been “a number of economic headwinds which will make life more difficult” to reach the annual target of 300,000 new homes. 

Speaking on the target, Gove said the target is still in place “but there are a number of factors that are going to make it and have made it more difficult”.

He highlighted the country’s “significant housing challenges” such as a historic lack of supply compared to the level of population growth.

According to data published by Unlatch at the start of this month, last year 181,810 new homes of the 300,000 target were completed across the UK, representing a shortfall of 118,190, which is the highest number since 2007.

Commenting on today’s figures, McBains managing director Clive Docwra says: “With today’s figures showing housing completions falling significantly in the first three months of this year, it’s no surprise that the government has noticeably started to gently drop mention of its target to build 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.”

Based on current rates, Docwra says the target will be missed by some way, even with the increase in starts this quarter.

“The government has also recently diluted plans to reform the planning system in England which would have made it easier for planning permission for new homes to be granted, at a time when it’s clear more homes are needed.”

“It’s also a worrying sign that the number of housing association completions is already falling as government policy on extending Right to Buy will likely mean a fall in new stock.  Every previous version of Right to Buy has failed to replace the number of affordable homes lost and this number will just fall further unless the market is stimulated.”