UK builds 200,000 affordable homes in four years

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins hailed the results as “a real success story”.

The upward trend in house building is continuing, as building started on 41,654 affordable homes in the year to March 2014, 15% more than the previous year.

Kris Hopkins, Housing Minister said: “Families from Newcastle to Newquay have new homes available to them, whether to rent at an affordable rate or to buy through our shared ownership schemes.

“And this is on top of the wider efforts we’re making, which means housebuilding is now at its highest level since 2007.”

Of the 170,000 homes planned through the Affordable Homes programme, in which government is investing £19.5 billion public and private funding, 125,000 have now been completed.

Overall, the government has delivered 445,000 new homes since April 2010.

In contrast between 1997 and 2010 the number of social housing homes dropped by 420,000.

Andy Frankish, new homes director at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said: “The growth of affordable home starts is clearly welcome news, but as with every new set of figures on house building, it serves to highlight the sprawling gulf between demand and supply.

“The government has done much that is positive to bring the construction sector back to life, but the scale of the problem means it is not one that can be fixed over the course of a single parliament.

“It is impossible to overstate the vital role of affordable housing in the UK property market. Rising house prices carry deposit requirements with them, which spells trouble for many aspiring homeowners who increasingly see their hopes of getting on the housing ladder lifted out of reach.

“Housing supply can’t simply be switched on overnight, but the general upwards momentum shows that a strong commitment can produce change.”

Areas with the most affordable homes are Birmingham (2,740), Cornwall (2,690), Wiltshire (2,620), Leeds (1,910), Bristol (1,830) and Manchester (1,810).

A fifth of the affordable homes built last year and a quarter of the total since 2010 were in London.

Andy Frankish added: “With party conference season approaching and election manifestos to write, it is essential to work towards consensus on long term measures on planning, development and construction to make a full housing recovery attainable.”