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House Building Target in Doubt as New Housing Starts Fall

9% decline in new dwelling starts in Q1 2019 prompts fears the Government will miss its construction goal

New build completions up 14% year-on-year despite a 1% decline between Q4 2018 and Q1 2019

New build dwelling starts across England suffered a notable drop year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019, renewing calls from modular housing developer Project Etopia on the Government to embrace modern construction methods.

Between January and March, there were an estimated 36,630 new build dwelling starts in England on a seasonally adjusted basis, some 9% fewer than both the final quarter of, and the same period at the beginning of, 2018.

However, approximately 42,870 new builds completed in Q1 2019. Despite this being a 1% decline quarter-by-quarter, the number of completions was up by 14% compared with Q1 2018.

Annual new build dwelling starts in the year to March 2019 were up 1% on the same period to March 2018, with completions over the same period rising by 6% year-on-year.

According to Project Etopia’s Founder, Joseph Daniels, the latest figures confirm that the Government will fail to meet its housing building target without investing more in modern construction methods:

“House building has swung into reverse yet again, and it is a further sign that the industry is not consistent enough in its delivery of new homes. A slump in the pipeline of new homes is now programmed in for later this year.

“Housing is in a state of crisis, yet the response has not reflected how high a priority house-building needs to be in the UK. Only by turning to modern methods of construction which are much faster than traditional building can we hope to deliver the housing the country desperately needs.”

His comments echo the recommendations of a new report that urges the Government to adopt more modern construction methods to increase delivery rates and reduce costs.

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