House building at a 50-year low

Latest figures show that the housing market continues to struggle, with the number of new homes built falling to just 18,349 in the first three months of the year and mortgage lending slumping to £10.4 billion. Communities and Local Government said the number of housing starts was up 13 per cent on the previous quarter, but was 44 per cent lower than the March quarter 2015. Starts by registered social landlords rose by 5 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Meanwhile mortgage lending was 9 per cent down on the previous month, and 60 per cent lower in year on year figures. The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) director general Michael Coogan said that it was still too early to spot a clear pattern of recovery in the housing market. Buy to let lending also fell for the sixth consecutive quarter in the first quarter of the year, accounting for just 6 per cent of gross mortgage lending. This is down 50 per cent from the same time a year earlier. CML said the number of loans in arrears of three of more months was up from 2.30 per cent to 3.09 per cent.