Housing programmes delivered by Homes England resulted in 11,530 new houses starting on site and 11,297 new homes completed between 1 April and 30 September 2023, statistics have revealed.

The figures represents a decrease in starts and completions compared to the same period in 2022, which, Homes England says, reflects the on-going impact of the economic downturn on the housebuilding industry.

Although actual numbers were lower, a higher percentage of starts on sites were for affordable homes than in the same period last year (86% and 74% respectively).

Homes England says this is largely because the living cost and mortgage rate increases associated with an economic downturn will typically result in a fall in market housing demand, but an increase in affordable housing demand, and generally means that while the number of starts and completions fall, this is less pronounced within affordable housing.

Of the affordable homes started in this period:

  • 1,058 were for Affordable Rent, a decrease of 51% on this period last year
  • 1,182 were for Intermediate Affordable Housing Schemes, including Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy, a decrease of 32%
  • 722 were for Social Rent, a decrease of 14%.

The tenure is still to be confirmed for a further 6,965 of the affordable homes starts (an 11% increase on this figure for the same period last year).

Of the housing completions from 1 April to 30 September 2023, 7,831  were for affordable homes, which is roughly in line with the 7,905 affordable homes completed in the same period the previous year – though proportionally it is also an increase (69% versus 64% respectively).

As well as the economic downturn, the overall decrease in affordable completions is due to the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme 2016 -21 no longer accepting new allocations, with all new allocations going through the Affordable Homes Programme 2021 – 26.

Of the affordable homes completed in this period:

  • 3,092 were for Affordable Rent, a decrease of 16% from the same period last year
  • 3,084 were for Intermediate Affordable Housing Schemes, an increase of 1%
  • 1,174 were for Social Rent, an increase of 4%
  • The remaining 481 were for First Homes, an increase of 1,103% on 40 First Homes completed in the same period last year.

This is the first time that data for First Homes has been included as part of this statistical release. Previous statistics for all periods since the launch of First Homes in FY2021-22 have also been recalibrated to include First Homes.

Peter Denton, Chief Executive at Homes England, said: “The current economic downturn, with escalating interest rates, abnormal inflation, particularly in building material costs, and the growing cost of living crisis, have all had an impact on housing delivery.

“As the government’s housing and regeneration agency, we have acted as quickly as we can, working with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to introduce flexibilities and ease the strain on our partners. We know that these pressures are likely to continue, and we shall continue to work with our partners and central government to support the sector to keep building.

“Times are tough and I’d urge existing and potential partners from the building industry, home providers, developers, investors and local authorities to engage with the Homes England team. We are here to help unlock solutions to problems and pave the way for more homes and regenerated places where people want to live and thrive.”