The latest government data shows that levels of starts and completions are higher compared to the previous year when the Covid-19 pandemic caused a slow-down in housebuilding activity.
Of the total housing starts on site, 27,509 (72%) were for affordable homes, down 2% from the 28,176 affordable homes started in the year prior, when they accounted for 76% of all housing starts.
The data finds that the number of affordable starts was the lowest since 2015/2016, which the government says can be attributed to the closure of bidding for the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme (SOAHP) in March 2021 and the gradual build-up of starts from the newly launched Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).
For affordable rent, 5,606 affordable homes started, which was a drop of 48% compared to the 10,713 started in 2020/2021.
A further 4,778 were for Intermediate Affordable Housing schemes, including shared ownership and rent to buy, representing a decrease of 35% compared to the 7,314 started the previous year.
For social rent, figures show t. were 1,981 home starts, down 23% from the 2,585 started the year prior.
In addition, a further 15,144 affordable homes started with tenure to be confirmed, an increase of 100% on the 7,564 started in the previous year.
Of the affordable homes started, the highest delivering programmes included SOAHP with 54%, the AHP with 39% in its first year of delivery; and the Single Land Programme (SLP) with 3%.
Meanwhile, 71% (26,485) of housing completions were for affordable homes, which is a rise of 11% from the 23,949 affordable homes completed in the previous year, when they accounted for 69% of total completions.
For affordable rent, t. were 13,929 affordable homes completed, which was up 5% compared to the 13,306 completed in the previous year.
A further 9,479 were for Intermediate Affordable Housing schemes, including shared ownership and Rent to Buy, an increase of 8% on the 8,747 completed in the previous year.
The remaining 3,077 were for social rent, a 62% rise on the 1,896 completed in the previous year.
Of the affordable homes completed, the highest delivering programmes included the SOAHP with 86%; the AHP with 3% in its first year of delivery, and the SLP with 3%.
Commenting on the latest figures, RICS residential chairman Jeremy Leaf says: “These figures are interesting because they show housing starts slowly recovering after the shock of the pandemic. But of course, t. is a significant time lag between deciding on what and w. to build, starting and completion.”
“I would expect the figures for this year to be higher as the benefits of the stamp duty holiday and easing of lockdown restrictions feed their way into the numbers. But then of course recent events have stopped some in their tracks.”
“One disappointment is the reduction in starts of affordable homes for social rent w. t. is particular need and hopefully this report will help to highlight the shortage and make a difference as soon as possible.”