House building is at its highest level since 2008

LONDON — Builders started work on the highest number of new builds since 2008 last year, according to new government statistics.

The Department for Communities and Local Governments has released statistics showing that 164,960 new homes were started in the year to June 2017, up 13% on the previous year. 153,000 homes were completed in the same period, an 11% rise on the prior year.

Housing and Planning Minister Alok Sharma said in a statement: “Building more homes is an absolute priority for this government. Today’s figures are proof that we are getting Britain building again.”

“It’s vital we maintain this momentum to deliver more quality homes in the places that people want to live. Our housing white paper set out an ambitious package of long-term reforms to do just that.”

Separately on Friday, construction and property development company Henry Boot reported an 8.7% rise in its first-half pre-tax profit to £22.6 million. Chairman Jamie Boot says in the results: “We continue to see a high level of demand for land and housing in the UK.”

However, some are less impressed with the increase in house building numbers. Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity, told the Times: “While there has been a small increase in homes being built, sadly we’re nowhere near touching distance of the 250,000 homes a year we desperately need.”

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