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Rise in latest new homes figures

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The number of new homes under construction in England and Wales jumped by two-thirds in the last quarter, according to new government statistics.

The Department for Community and Local Government’s latest three-monthly house building report shows an estimated 29,980 housing starts in England in the quarter ending June 2009, up 63% on the previous quarter. This represented the second successive quarterly rise in seasonally adjusted housing starts.

Even so, the second quarter’s figure represented a 9% fall compared to the same three month period last year.

Responding to the figures, Shelter chief executive Sam Younger commented that it was premature to see the new figures as proof that the house building industry was recovering.

He said: “Although there’s been a slight rise in the last three months, it is still a drop in the ocean in terms of meeting housing need and demand.”

“These figures clearly show the devastating impact the recession is having on house building, with housing starts down 41% on the past 12 months.”

Private enterprise housing starts (seasonally adjusted) were 73% higher than in the quarter ending March 2009, but were 12% lower than in the June quarter 2008.

Over the year, 87,190 homes were started in the 12 months to June 2009. This figure represented a 41% decline compared with the year ending June 2008 and was 53% below the 2005-06 peak for home construction starts.

Private enterprise housing completions (seasonally adjusted) were 27% higher in the quarter ending June 2009 than in the previous three months, representing a 1% increase on the quarter to June 2008.

Annual housing completions in England totalled 136,140 in the 12 months to June 2009, down by 16% compared with the 12 months to June 2008.

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