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House-building decline stabilises

Latest figures from housebuilders suggest that the freefall in housebuilding has stablised.

House-building decline stabilises

Following the first quarter-on-quarter rise in applications to start new homes in almost two years, the NHBC’s latest statistics show 17,859 applications in the three months to the end of April 2009 – 10% higher compared to the previous rolling quarter January to March 2009 (16,232).

Although activity levels were still 53% down on the same period a year ago, the April figures show applications to start new homes in the combined private and public sectors rising for the fourth successive month in a row to 6,379.

Imtiaz Farookhi, NHBC Chief Executive, said: “While it is still too early to assume that these are definite signs of a recovery, some positive indicators are emerging which suggest that the severe downturn in house-building activity may be beginning to turn a corner. Anecdotal evidence from house-builders and developers also suggests that conditions are easing slightly on site, no doubt boosted by the Government’s recent £1billion budgetary pledge to help the housing market and the Homes and Communities Agency’s (HCA) Kickstart initiative to open up mothballed sites.”

NHBC statistics for the three months to the end of April 2009 also revealed:

Regions in the South East and Greater London attracted a total of 4,436 new build applications in the three months to the end of April 2009, accounting for a quarter (25%) of the overall UK volume.(i)

Of the 17,859 applications to start new homes in the combined private and public sectors during the three months to the end of April, over half, (9,627) were related to private sector activity (i.e. excluding housing associations) – 66% lower than the same three-month period a year ago (28,492).

Public sector figures for the three months to the end of April totalled 8,232 – 11% lower than the same period a year ago (9,270).

New build completions in the combined private and public sectors totalled 27,661 in the three months to the end of April 2009 – 30% lower than the same period a year ago (39,603).

The average number of daily sales of new homes in the UK from February to April 2009 was 319 – 30% lower than the same period a year ago (452).

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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