Home building in Buckinghamshire hit by Covid-19 pandemic

Housebuilding has slowed in Aylesbury Vale and BucksHousebuilding has slowed in Aylesbury Vale and Bucks
Housebuilding has slowed in Aylesbury Vale and Bucks
Home building in Buckinghamshire slowed last year despite a spike in activity over the summer as coronavirus restrictions were lifted, figures suggest.

Housing charity Shelter warned a shortage of affordable homes along with a shrinking economy could mean the country faces “an even bigger housing crisis”.

In Buckinghamshire, work started on around 1,120 new homes between January and September last year, according to data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

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That was down by 27% compared to the same period in 2019, when there were roughly 1,540 new home builds.

Construction increased between July and September as the coronavirus pandemic eased with work starting on around 390 homes – up from around 230 between April and June, when the country was plunged into lockdown.

However, the MHCLG cautioned that quarterly figures for local authority areas are "volatile".

Shelter chief executive Polly Neate says she fears a worsening housing crisis, and has called on the Government to invest in more social housing.

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She said: “It’s good developers have found ways to start building homes gain while the pandemic continues, but compared to a year ago, housebuilding starts are down, so it’s not quite back to normal.”

She added: “We already have a dire shortage of genuinely affordable homes, and we cannot risk that getting worse.

“The problem isn’t just the pandemic, it’s the economy.

"If it continues to shrink, the housing market will stall, and we will have an even bigger housing crisis in our hands.”

Across England, work started on 91,000 new homes in the first nine months of last year, a 26% fall from the same period in 2019.

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Between July and September there were 40,000 new house builds, up from 18,000 between April and June.

The Home Builders Federation says the increase was buoyed by the lifting of house selling restrictions in May.

Steve Turner, spokesman for the HBF, said: Since the restriction on house sales was lifted we have seen very high levels of demand for new homes.

“Construction has continued apace to meet this demand but inevitably delays have occurred as a result of staff absences and supply chain blocks.”

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Mr Turner said the industry was “still some way” off the Government’s target to increase housebuilding to 300,000 a year by the mid-2020s.

A spokesperson for the MHCLG said: “We delivered 244,000 homes in 2019/20 – the highest in over 30 years – and doubled the number of homes started in the last quarter compared to the one before.

“During the pandemic we have taken decisive action to support the industry, allowing construction sites to operate and reopening the housing market safely.

“We are delivering the new homes the country needs through our £12bn Affordable Homes Programmes and wholesale reform of the planning system. “

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