The latest ONS construction figures show a pullback in new housing output as housing market confidence fell in the immediate run up to the EU vote. This drop was most acute for private housebuilding. New private housing fell 3.5% in May from April levels. Public housing was less affected, falling by 0.8% month on month.
On a long term view, the UK housing recovery is clear to see. As the graph shows, Britain has been building again. Construction output for housing is up a strong 78% from January 2010. This stronger performance is reflected in other housebuilding data sources. Recent valuation office numbers report more than 200,000 additional homes in the council tax base in 2015/16.
The building blocks were put in place in recent years by £38bn of large scale public commitments in housing, root and branch reform of planning, local government and public land. Combined with an all market approach which has included councils, housing associations, developers and investors. This has enabled a step change in housebuilding.
It is vital that housebuilding confidence is achieved and momentum is sustained to meet the Government’s target of a million homes by 2020. A target confirmed by the incoming Housing & Planning Minister, Gavin Barwell.
This means acting to steady global financial markets, continuing with Help to Buy and other interventions. It means an urgent focus on providing skills and construction academies. It means supporting innovation and new technologies like advanced manufacturing. It means helping small builders and continuing to seek out solutions for estate regeneration. It means continuing an all market approach supporting councils, housing associations, developers and investors. As well as the government itself playing a full part.
We must continue to work hard and work together to build the homes our country needs.