The Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) released its Q4 2020 report on 18 March, entitled Housing supply: indicators of new supply, England. Below is a summary of the latest quarterly update and with some opinions from those in the construction industry.
Building starts – Seasonally adjusted new build dwelling starts in England in Q4 2020 were estimated at 42,110 (seasonally adjusted), which was a 16% increase compared to the third quarter. Also, compared to a year ago, starts were are up by 24%. Building starts are now 14% below their Q1 2007 peak and are 145% above the previous trough in Q2 2009.
Completions – Completions were estimated at 46,950 (seasonally adjusted) in Q4 2020, a 4% increase from the previous quarter and 6% above their level in the same quarter a year ago. Completions are now 3% below their peak in Q1 2007 and 87% above the previous trough in Q1 2013.
Long term trends - Trends in starts and completions were similar up to 2008. Completions fell more slowly than starts during the downturn but over a longer period. From 2009 starts began to recover and during the next two years both series converged and levelled out. From 2013 to 2018, starts and completions grew again gradually. Since 2019, completions continued to grow, but there was a sustained decrease in starts and more recently a steep fall in starts and completions reflecting UK government COVID-19 national restriction measures in early 2020. Following a sharp uptick in Q3 2020, starts and completions both continued to increase during the fourth quarter last year.