Post-Covid recovery in housebuilding stalls, figures suggest

A recovery in housebuilding following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic looks to have stalled, Government figures suggest.

Some 234,397 new homes were supplied in England in 2022/23, broadly unchanged on 234,462 for the previous 12 months.

The total includes 212,568 new builds and 22,163 properties that saw a change of use from non-domestic to residential.

There were 4,499 conversions between houses and flats and 641 net other gains, along with 5,474 demolitions, according to data published by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

The number of new homes supplied in England – defined as “net additional dwellings” – hit 248,591 in 2019/20, the highest for any financial year so far this century, before falling to 217,754 in 2020/21 during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the 2019 general election the Conservative Party renewed its commitment to a target of 300,000 new homes per year in England by the mid-2020s.

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities spokesperson said: “We need to build more homes but the latest figures show that despite the difficult economic climate we are on track to meet the manifesto commitment of delivering one million homes over this Parliament.

“Backed by £10 billion investment in housing supply since the start of this Parliament we are making good progress and our long-term housing plan will allow us to go further and build the homes we need.”

Figures for net additional dwellings are considered the most comprehensive measure of the housing supply in England and are based on local authority estimates of gains and losses each year.

They show the number of homes that were classified as new builds in 2022/23, 212,568, was up slightly from 211,665 in 2021/22, but was below the pre-pandemic level of 219,120 in 2019/20.

Across England, the number of net additions per 1,000 dwellings increased in 2022/23 in 163 out of 309 local authorities, including 13 of the 33 London boroughs.

Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire had the highest rate, at 27.0 net additions per 1,000 dwellings, followed by Mid Suffolk (26.5), Rugby in Warwickshire (25.9) and Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire (24.2).

Excluding the City of London and the Isles of Scilly, which have low levels of residential housing, the lowest rates were in Portsmouth in Hampshire (0.3 net additions per 1,000 dwellings), Gosport in Hampshire (0.6) and Epping Forest in Essex (1.4).

In London, Tower Hamlets had the highest rate (18.6 net additions per 1,000 dwellings) followed by Croydon (17.7) and Brent (17.4), while Richmond-upon Thames (1.7), Redbridge (2.1) and Lewisham (2.2) had the lowest rates.