10:44 AM, 30th September 2020, About 12 months ago
MHCLG has now released the ONS figures (seasonally adjusted) for the number of dwellings where, according to building control figures, building work has started on site. This was 15,930 homes in April to June 2020 which was a 52% decrease when compared to the last quarter and this steep fall in activity reflects UK government COVID-19 lockdown measures.
It follows a recent trend of a slowdown in growth with six of the last six quarters showing a decrease.
The number of dwellings completed, according to building control figures, on-site was 15,950 in April to June 2020. This is a 62% decrease when compared to last quarter and following on from the 5% decrease in the previous quarterly change, this represents a steep fall after a period of sustained growth.
The Quarterly index chart below shows the trends of starts and completions as an index starting at 100 in June 2007 showing the rate of change rather than the numeric change.
Andy Sommerville, Director of Search Acumen, comments: “This latest data reveals the scale of the damaging impact that strict lockdown measures and the showdown of building sites had on the construction sector.
“While there were signs of recovery as sites began to re-open and demand from buyers rose sharply in order to exploit the financial benefits offered through the higher Stamp Duty threshold from July, more recent market analysis has shown a drop in appetite, particularly from first-time buyers.
“This follows the spike in Covid-19 cases which is causing economic uncertainty but is also a result of reduced availability of mortgages. The second wave is likely to dampen demand in the short term and also hamper the benefits of the Stamp Duty scheme, especially as the cut off point for completing transactions ahead of the deadline is fast approaching. Additional delays in the transaction process have been incurred due to overreliance on outdated processes.
“But this is not the moment to abandon hope. The past few months have seen rapid advancements in more agile ways of working and an uptake of technology that we cannot risk being left behind. The industry needs to continue to put better data consumption across the property market – from construction to conveyancing – in order to better identify risks upfront, drive efficiencies and bolster the UK economy in the months to come.”
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