House building reaches record levels in St Helens
House building in St Helens reached record levels at the start of the year, figures reveal.
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data shows work was completed on 260 homes in the area between January and March – the highest number for the quarter since records began in 2005.
Building work also began on a further 120 homes over the period.
Across England, 49,470 homes were completed in the first quarter of the year – the highest number for any quarter in more than 20 years and a 4% increase compared to the last three months of 2020.
During the same period, work began on 46,010 homes – a 7% increase on the previous quarter.
The Home Builders Federation says demand for new build homes is extremely strong nationally, and wants to see the Government continuing to invest in the industry.
Stewart Baseley, executive chairman, said: "The industry is looking to deliver further increases in supply that have seen output double in recent years.
"As well as addressing the social need for more housing, increasing supply creates jobs, generates investment in local economies and delivers improvements to infrastructure and amenities that benefits both new and existing residents.
"The Government needs to continue to evolve the policy agenda such that the industry can continue to invest in the land and people needed to build the homes the country needs."
However, the organisation warned that quarterly figures at local authority level can be volatile, as they can potentially exclude data for some sites.
The MHCLG figures show that in the year to March, 610 new homes were completed in St Helens – 210 fewer than in 2019-20.
The Government has committed to investing nearly £20 billion into new housing as part of its Spending Review, including more than £12 billion for affordable housing, as part of its levelling-up agenda.
After initially halting all construction work at the start of the pandemic, the Government later introduced measures to allow builders to seek more flexible construction site working hours from their local councils.
Certain planning permissions that would otherwise lapse were also extended, in order to support the sector.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: "It is encouraging to see a continued rise in the number of new homes being built.
"The house building sector has shown extraordinary resilience and the Government has continued to demonstrate its support for the industry throughout the pandemic.
"By enabling construction sites to remain open and operate safely, builders have been able deliver the homes this country needs as we build back better from the pandemic."