In Brief

New house-building slows by 8% despite government target

Public demand for new-build homes seems to be in decline

Construction

The number of new homes started by builders between January and March is down 8% on the same period in 2017, a worry for a government which has pledged to increase housebuilding.

In the first quarter of this year, construction began on 39,350 new homes in England, says The Times. That is 8% fewer than the 42,740 homes started in the first quarter of 2017.

The figure is also 5% lower than the last three months of last year, when 41,440 new houses were started.

The drop-off is partly because of the bad weather earlier this year, which halted construction in many areas. However, there are other reasons to believe the number of new builds is falling, says the paper. Sales of new-build homes fell by 2.8% in the year to the end of November, and the Home Builders Federation says both site visits and reservations for new-builds are in decline.

The Government has promised to be building 300,000 new homes per year by the mid 2020s. That would be the biggest annual increase in housing since 1970.

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