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Number of new UK homes fall as COVID-19 derails construction work

Mhari Aurora
·2-min read
The UK has seen a sharp decline in the completion of new homes since the pandemic began. Photo: PA.
The UK has seen a sharp decline in the completion of new homes since the pandemic began. Photo: PA.

New research found there has been a sharp decrease in the number of new properties being constructed due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Research from property developer StripeHomes found the number of new homes reaching the market in England had fallen by more than 32,000 in one year.

All English regions have seen a drop in the amount of new homes being completed in the past 12 months, and the South East saw the largest drop in property completions, with over 7,000 less than the previous year.

READ MORE: UK first-time buyers need £11,000 larger deposits after COVID-19 property boom

Managing director of StripeHomes, James Forrester, said: “While the government has done as much as possible to keep both the property market and the construction sector open for business, it’s perhaps understandable that housing delivery has stuttered when compared to the previous year.

“However, there are many that believe the big house builders have used the pandemic as a smokescreen, to detract from their usual practices of land banking in order to increase profits.

“Having drip-fed stock to the market for many years now, there’s no reason to believe this practice would have changed in the last year and the issues that have faced the sector provide them with the perfect excuse to continue.”

The StripeHomes research also found Yorkshire and the Humber, the North East, the West Midlands, and London to have the smallest drops in new home construction within the past 12 months.

These four regions all saw moderate drops in new homes being constructed — fewer than 3,000 — whereas the South West saw a fall of well over 5,000 homes.

READ MORE: Segro to develop London’s greenest industrial estate in Tottenham

According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of dwellings in Britain rose 13.8% between 2001 — 2018, and the population grew by 12.4%, however the percentage of privately rented dwellings rose by over 120%, while local authority dwellings dropped by almost 45%.

These figures show that with a growing population there is rising demand for housing, but not however a growing number of those who can afford to or want to buy their own homes.

Watch: Why are house prices rising during a recession?