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UK house-builders ‘outstripping EU rivals’

The recent growth seen in the UK’s house-building sector has outstripped the improvements recorded on the continent

Friday 22 August 2014

UK house-builders ‘outstripping EU rivals’The UK house-building sector is enjoying a stronger recovery than its counterparts on the continent, according to new Deloitte research

Official statistics from the Department for Communities and Local Government have revealed that the number of new house-building construction starts rose by 22% in England between April and June, in year-on-year terms.

Construction work on 137,780 new homes began during the twelve-month period.

European leader

Adding to these findings, business advisory firm Deloitte has indicated that British house-building activity is growing more quickly than other key European economies.

It said that the UK saw the largest increase in new housing starts between 2012 and last year, with a 23.4% improvement recorded The study said this was the best rate in the European Union (EU), with Belgium and Germany following with respective scores of 12% and 7.2%.

Over the past three years, Deloitte said the overall rate of residential development has declined across the EU. It said that the ratio of completed homes dipped to 2.5 per 1,000 citizens last year, from a rate of 3.9 in 2011.

‘Further work needed’

Commenting on these trends, James Pargeter, head of residential projects at Deloitte Real Estate, said that the UK appears to be moving in the right direction, even though more attention needs to be paid to the house-building sector to address demographic changes.

He added that the UK’s 2014 performance should also compare favourably with the wider EU.

European trends

Turning his attentions to the continent, the expert said: “On the whole, Europe’s residential sector is still recovering from the slump that followed the financial crisis in 2008, which resulted in historically-low construction levels.

“Many countries continue to develop housing at below the European average, including the UK, but it is worth noting that France and Austria, even in continued decline with regard to housing starts, are completing around twice as many homes per 1,000 people.”

Help to Buy impact

According to the British Government, stimulus schemes such as Help to Buy have had a positive impact on the country’s home construction industry in recent months.

Its data shows that nearly 40,000 households have now managed to move onto or up the property ladder with the assistance of Help to Buy.

Around four fifths of the sales agreed through the initiative have related to first-time buyers investing in new-build homes.

Copyright Press Association 2014

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