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HBF highlights construction approval downturn

Figures revealed by the Home Builders Federation (HBF) have highlighted a downturn in the number of approvals for new home construction in the last quarter.

According to the organisation's latest Housing Pipeline report, just 24,872 new homes were approved for construction during the three months to June 2012 - down from both the previous quarter (36,761) and from the same period last year (25,171).

Furthermore, the figures are less than half of the amount registered back in the June quarter of 2007 (55,466).

At the present rate, the government is delivering less than half of the new properties required to meet the growing demand for homes from the burgeoning population, with the HBF claiming action therefore needs to be taken.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF, said: "Under the new planning system local authorities have much more power over what is built in their area. But with that power comes a responsibility to provide the housing their communities need.

"Government needs to ensure that councils are meeting this responsibility."

In order to meet its targets for the provision of new homes across the UK, builders need to be delivering 60,000 properties per quarter, but this is a figure which at present appears to be out of reach.

Mr Baseley added that the failure to address the growing problem of the housing crisis in the UK is simply storing up significant social and housing problems for the years to come.

However, head of communications at the HBF Steve Turner argued earlier this month that the government remains committed to ensuring more new first-time buyers are able to access the UK property market, with its FirstBuy scheme still in its infancy.

He commented: "Clearly the government is focused on increasing house building and I think we will see more measures announced in the near future aimed at addressing the mortgage finance issue." 

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