Housing statistics quarterly update: March 2019

Trends in new build housing starts and completions by sector, and the Affordable Housing Supply Programme.

New Build Housing – All Sectors – up to end September 2018

The new-build section of this document provides figures on the number of homes started (when the foundations are begun) and completed (when a building inspector deems the property complete).

Figures are presented for homes built on privately led (referred to throughout as private sector), local authority led (referred to as local authority sector) and housing association led (referred to as housing association sector) sites. For the private sector the latest information available is for the quarter ending September 2018. Whilst more up-to-date information is available for local authority and housing association new builds, findings for these sectors are mainly presented up to September 2018 to simplify comparisons between sectors.

The figures have not been seasonally adjusted and so commentary tends to compare the latest quarter with the same quarter the previous year. To help with this, Quarter 3 figures (from July to September) have been highlighted in the charts to allow easy comparison over time. Some of the peaks in the number of starts in Quarter 1 each year are due to large numbers of housing association approvals being granted near the end of the financial year.

Chart 1 (see page 1) shows the number of private sector, social sector and total new homes completed each quarter since 2007, whilst Charts 2 and 3 (below) show annual and quarterly trends, respectively, in starts and completions across all sectors.

Trends over the last ten years – all sectors

Charts 1 to 3 all clearly show the impact of the recession in the second half of the last decade, with private sector led completions in particular falling throughout 2008 and 2009 (years to end September) due to the financial crisis. Completions for all sectors fell more gradually between 2010 and 2013, after which there have been some annual increases seen in the years following this.

The picture on all sector starts has been generally similar to the trends seen in completions, although most of the steep drop following the financial crisis was seen in 2009.

Chart 2: Annual all sector new build starts and completions, years to end September, 2008 to 2018

Chart 3: Quarterly new build starts and completions (all sectors) since 2007 up to end September 2018

Trends to end September 2018 – all sectors

There were 4,894 new build homes completed between July and September 2018; a 13% increase (551 homes) on the same quarter in 2017. This brings the total for the year to end September 2018 to 18,750, up 4% (635 homes) compared to the 18,115 completed in the previous year.

There were 4,425 new build homes started between July 2018 and September 2018, 11% more (454 homes) than the same quarter in 2017. This brings the total for the year to end September 2018 to 19,900 which is up 2% (407 homes) compared to the 19,493 homes started in the previous year.

Comparison with the rest of the UK from 2008 to 2018 – all sectors

Each of the countries of the UK produces their own statistics on quarterly new build housing starts and completions by tenure, and all use broadly consistent definitions. These new build statistics for each of the countries of the UK, as well as for Great Britain and the UK as a whole can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-house-building.

In addition to this, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) also produces an additional annual set of statistics for England on new build homes, as a component part of the 'Housing supply; net additional dwellings, England' set of statistics[1]. These statistics are collected on a different basis to the quarterly UK country statistics as local authorities can use a range of data sources to collate these figures rather than solely using building control information. Figures on this for 2017/18 were published on 15 November 2018, and this publication advised that the 'net additional dwellings' should be considered the primary and most comprehensive measure of housing supply in England.

MHCLG have advised that the quarterly new build statistical collection for England, whilst being a useful leading indicator of activity throughout the year, is not currently capturing all new build activity, largely due to difficulties in collecting accurate starts and completions data from independent building inspectors or where building control has been sourced out to strategic partnerships or the private sector. These data issues do not exist in the Scotland quarterly housing statistics, given that all of the 32 local authorities in Scotland directly manage building control and the associated provision of data to the Scottish Government on starts and completions.

As a result of this advice, the new build component figures of the 'net additional dwellings' statistics for England are included in the UK comparisons as an additional set of figures to consider when comparing between countries.

Chart 4 shows that the rate of house building completions in Scotland has been above that of England and Wales throughout the 2008 to 2017 period (years to end September), in the latest year, whilst the rate in Scotland (34 per 10,000 population) has been above the comparable quarterly statistics for England (29 per 10,000 population), it is below the rate of 'net additional dwellings' new builds in England for 2017/18 (35 per 10,000 population). The rate of house building completions in Scotland has been below that of Northern Ireland between 2008 and 2018, except for 2015.

Chart 4: New house building as a rate per 10,000 population for UK countries, years to end September, 2008 to 2018

Sub-national figures for the year to end September 2018 – all sectors

The information on new build housing in Scotland is collected and published at local authority level. Map A, below, shows new house building in the year to end September 2018, as a rate per 10,000 population based on the latest mid-2017 population estimates.

In the year to end September 2018 the highest new build rates were observed in East Lothian, Midlothian, Renfrewshire, Perth & Kinross and Highland. The lowest rates were observed in Argyll & Bute, Dumfries & Galloway, South Ayrshire, Dundee City and Na h-Eileanan Siar.

Map A: New build housing - all sector completions: rates per 10,000 population, year to end September 2018


Email: Lyndsey.Middleton@gov.scot

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