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The number of new homes completed in England in the last year reached its highest level in a decade, but growth has plummeted as Brexit uncertainties take hold.

Just over 222,000 more homes were added to England’s housing stock in 2017-2018, according to figures released today by the minister of housing, communities and local government (MHCLG).

But the increase represents growth of only two per cent on last year, reflecting the tough market for housebuilders amid rising building costs and Brexit uncertainty.

In 2017 growth from the previous year was 15 per cent.

The figures fall short of the government’s plans to build 300,000 new homes a year, which it outlined in its 2017 budget in a bid to tackle the country’s housing crisis.

Blane Perrotton, managing director of chartered surveyors Naismiths, said: “You don’t need to follow every tortuous twist and resignation of the Brexit saga to identify the culprit for the slowdown.

“Fragile demand and a lack of developer confidence since the 2016 vote have both slammed on the brakes, even here in the engine room of the construction industry.”

The report comes as housebuilders bear the brunt of numerous resignations after Theresa May unveiled her draft Brexit deal. Shares in Barratt Developments and Persimmon have fallen over seven and eight per cent respectively since the cabinet agreed on a draft deal last night.

But the Home Builders Federation (HBF) has welcomed the report, saying progress was being made in the industry’s efforts to address the housing shortage.

HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley said: “Today’s numbers are yet another sign that the home building industry is delivering the increases in housing supply the country needs.

“Whilst the second-hand market remains sluggish amidst wider economic uncertainty, with Help to Buy enabling first-time buyers to purchase new build homes, builders have continued to invest and increase output.”

“Whilst huge progress is being made, government needs to continue to work with all parts of the housing sector to assist them to deliver further increases if we are to hit their 300,000 target,” he added.

Communities secretary James Brokenshire said: “Today’s figures are great news and show another yearly increase in the number of new homes delivered, but we are determined to do more to keep us on track to deliver the homes communities need.”

Source: City A.M.

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