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New figures show a rise in the numbers of new homes being built across the UK, with starts now 10% above 2013 and at their highest annual total since 2007. Starts on new homes in 2014 totalled 137,010 overall and in London, starts in 2013 to 2014 were the highest since 2005 to 2006, according to the figures released by the Department of Communities and Local Government. Overall 700,000 new homes have been delivered since the end of 2009 and over 200,000 of which have been since the launch of the government’s flagship Help to Buy scheme. ‘We inherited a broken housing market in which builders couldn’t build, lenders wouldn’t lend and buyers couldn’t buy. We’ve done a lot to help get the housing industry back on its legs, but there’s more to do,’ said Housing Minister Brandon Lewis. ‘These figures show we’re on track and turning this around. Now, housebuilding levels are at their highest annual total since 2007, and first time buyers are getting on the property ladder in record numbers. This is thanks to our long term economic plan and efforts to tackle the deficit we inherited, which are keeping interest rates at their record low and mean now is the best time on record to take out a mortgage,’ he added. The department pointed out that the 2008 economic crash devastated the house building industry, bringing building levels to their lowest since the 1920s and leading to the loss of a quarter of a million jobs but the government has prioritised limited financial resources to house building as a key part of its long term economic plan. This includes helping people onto the housing ladder and over 77,000 households have become homeowners with a fraction of the deposit they would normally require thanks to the Help to Buy scheme, with developers building more as a direct result. According to Lewis, reforms to the planning system has put power back in the hands of local people to have a say over the future development of their area, meaning support for local house building has increased dramatically over the past six years, and permission was granted on 240,000 homes in the year to October. The figures also show that nearly 217,000 affordable homes have been delivered since 2010 and £19.5 billion public and private funding has already been invested in affordable house building, with plans for a further £38 billion which will help ensure a further 275,000 new affordable homes are provided between 2015 and 2020. Lewis also pointed to efforts to keep interest rates low and mortgages more affordable and said that the numbers of first time buyers are at a seven year high, with the Mortgage Advice Bureau recently reporting now as the best time on record to take out a mortgage. Continue reading →
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