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New home registrations 'at 7-year high'

New home registrations have reached their highest level since 2007, with increases occurring across the country.Figures from the National House Building Council (NHBC) reveal there was an eight per cent rise in the number of registrations on the same period last year, with the private sector continuing to be the main driver of growth.A total of 36,343 new homes were registered with the NHBC between July and September this year, compared to 33,573 for the same period in 2013. Private sector registrations rose by 14 per cent on the previous year's figure, increasing from 24,984 to 28,468.Meanwhile, the public sector continued to underperform compared with last year, with the number declining from 8,589 to 7,875 - a fall of eight per cent.Public sector registrations are expected to rise again, however, as the next phase of the government's Affordable Housing Programme has recently been allocated.There was particularly strong growth in the West Midlands, where registrations rose from 2,551 to 3,848. Yorkshire and the Humber also saw a significant rise in registrations, from 1,917 to 2,524.Signs of cooling were evident in London and the south-east - in the latter region, the number of registrations declined from 5,829 to 4,951.According to NHBC chief executive Mike Quinton, the figures indicate that the housing recovery is becoming broad-based. "However, we must not lose sight of the fact that the UK still has a chronic shortage of new homes," he added. "We have seen over recent weeks that all the main political parties regard housing as an ongoing key issue, reinforcing the fact that the country urgently needs more high quality and affordable new homes."Labour leader Ed Miliband recently unveiled new reforms aimed at ensuring 200,000 new homes a year are built by 2020, while the Conservatives have pointed out that over 200,000 affordable homes have been provided in England since April 2010. 

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