Number of housing completions almost tripled in Q3 2020

Posted on Friday, January 15, 2021

The number of completed homes almost tripled compared to the previous quarter, the latest figures show.

The government statistics reveal that 45,000 homes were completed in the period, which is a 185% increase on the previous quarter, as the as the housebuilding industry bounced back from the first coronavirus lockdown.

The stats also show that the number of property developers that have started building has more than doubled during the corresponding period, with the number of housing starts up 111% to 35,710.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “The figures show that the number of new homes developers have started building have more than doubled compared to the previous quarter and the number of completed homes has almost tripled. This reflects the government’s commitment throughout the pandemic to support industry to enable construction sites to remain open and operate safely.

“We extended planning permission deadlines and flexible working hours on sites so that builders, architects and developers have been able to continue working, while following public health advice. In turn this has protected millions of jobs, from builders, through to estate agents and carpenters.

“The housing industry is key to our economic recovery, which is why we’re investing £12 billion in affordable housing, providing £400 million to build more homes on brownfield land, and investing £7.1 billion for a new National Home Building Fund over the next four years, unlocking up to 860,000 homes.”

Posting a message on Twitter yesterday, house minister Christopher Pincher commented: “Our steps to keep the housing market open have resulted in new starts on housing only being down 1% between September 2019–2020 compared to the previous year – despite the challenges of the pandemic.”

But the significant increase in the number of dwellings started and completed between July and September last year is not a reason to celebrate but a simple reflection of the country emerging from the first national lockdown, according to Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals.

He commented: “The negligible 1% increase in the number of net additional dwellings in the year to March 2020, before the pandemic struck, underlines the ongoing housing supply issue England is facing.

“The country’s housing deficit will almost certainly have been exacerbated by the logistical and financial issues created by the pandemic.

“While the economic outlook remains highly uncertain due to both the pandemic and our official departure from the EU, the endemic lack of supply will provide a degree of support to property prices and arguably prevent a material decline.”

George Franks, co-founder of London-based estate agents, Radstock Property, added: “In the twelve months to March 2020, before the pandemic took a grip on the economy, the number of houses being built in England barely increased on the previous year.

“Until the country builds more homes more quickly, it’s hard to see property prices falling sharply, whatever happens to the economy in the months and years ahead.

“You have to feel for first time buyers, who are being priced out of the market because too few homes are being built.

“The pandemic will, of course, have made an already bad housing supply problem worse.

“For those who already own, the lack of homes being built will act as a glass floor under house prices during the turbulent months and potentially years ahead.

“The other issue facing housebuilders is that to ensure units sell they need to build where people want to live, which is where prices are least affordable. It’s a Catch 22 Joseph Heller could have penned.”

via Property Industry Eye