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UK housing starts down 15% compared with a year ago, data shows
The UK government is busy promoting the idea of self building and introducing new measures to inject momentum in the new homes market but the latest statistics shows that house building starts fell in England in the first quarter of the year.

Seasonally adjusted house building starts in England stood at 24,140 in the first three months of the year, 11% lower than in the last quarter of 2011. However, completions (seasonally adjusted) increased, up 6% to 31,010 in the first quarter of 2012.

The data also shows that private enterprise housing starts (seasonally adjusted) were 8% lower in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the previous quarter, whilst starts by housing associations were 21% lower. Private enterprise and housing association completions (seasonally adjusted) both increased by 8% from the previous quarter.

Seasonally adjusted starts are currently 42% above the trough in the March quarter 2009 but 50% below the peak in the December quarter of 2005. Completions are 36% below their March quarter 2007 peak.

Annual housing starts totalled 104,970 in the 12 months to March 2012, down by 6% compared with the 12 months to March 2011. Annual housing completions in England reached 117,870 in the 12 months to March 2012, an increase of 6% compared with the 12 months to March 2011.

Jack Dromey, Labour's Shadow Housing Minister, said that the figures show that the number of housing starts has fallen 15% compared with the same quarter last year. ‘These figures are further evidence of the failure by this out of touch government to get a grip on the housing crisis,’ he said.

‘The government's policies are making the housing crisis worse not better. But the government refuses to listen to the millions of people now in desperate need of a home and change course,’ he pointed out.

‘Figures released last week show that a major element of the recession is the collapse in home building driven by the government's 60% cut to the affordable housing budget. The government must act now to build badly needed homes and kick start the economy,’ he added.
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