England has 700,000 more homes than 2009

Housing minister Brandon Lewis said there were 138,640 housing starts annually to September, an increase of 16% compared to the same period last year.

Lewis said: “Whether it’s building new homes or bringing empty properties back into use, we have pulled out all the stops and are delivering the homes this country needs.

“This is all thanks to the efforts we’ve made since 2010, reforming the planning system, paving the way for developers to do their job and giving aspiring homeowners the help they deserve as part of our wider and long-term economic plan.”

But Charles Haresnape, Aldermore managing director of mortgages and commercial lending, thinks the country’s housebuilding figures can improve.

He said: “While housing starts are 93% above the low of March 2009, we are still a third below the peak in 2007 so there is room for improvement.

“It is more important than ever that house building keeps pace with demand, as this will put a cap on house price inflation and ensure that more people can get onto the housing ladder.”

More tenants are using the Right to Buy scheme, as between July and September 2014 2,845 council-owned properties were sold under the scheme, with London councils accounting for a third of sales.

Between April and September building work was started on 11,556 affordable homes.

Haresnape added: “These latest figures show a decrease of 10% in housing starts in England during the third quarter of 2014, compared to the second quarter, which at first glance appears to be startling.

“However, when looking at the bigger picture almost 140,000 homes were started in the 12 months to September 2014, which is a significant increase from the same period last year.

“Completions are 5% higher than the previous quarter so overall the house building picture seems to be improving.”