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UK housing starts reach highest level since 2007

Private house building across the UK has advanced strongly in recent months, boosted by the government initiatives driving the property market.According to figures published by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) today (May 15th), construction began on 36,450 new homes in the three months to the end of March. This is an 11 per cent increase on the final quarter of 2013 and represents growth of a third when compared to the same period in the previous year. Since the launch of the Help to Buy scheme in April 2013, private house building has been boosted by 34 per cent. Total housing starts are now at the highest level since 2007.The figures also show more than 27,000 people have benefitted from government house-buying initiatives.Communities secretary Eric Pickles stated: "In 2010, we inherited a situation where builders couldn’t build, buyers couldn’t buy and lenders wouldn’t lend."Today’s figures show we’re turning this around, with Help to Buy not only helping aspiring homeowners but also leading to a resurgence in house building."The DCLG report also shows the Right to Buy scheme has played a significant role in increasing house building across the UK.Discounts offered as part of the programme were raised in April 2012 and local authority sales are now four times higher at 11,238 for 2013/14, compared to just 2,638 in 2011/12.When considered alongside the figures for sales to housing association tenants, the total number of transactions boosted by Right to Buy is more than 19,500. The DCLG insists the additional revenues produced as a result of this initiative are being put back into the country's construction sector, funding the building of affordable homes for the rental market. In the first quarter of 2014, work began on 906 properties, taking the annual total above 2,100 - more than double the number started last year.Furthermore, the affordable homes programme has produced 170,000 new properties since 2010 and a further £23 billion in public and private investment has been committed to the scheme from 2015. 

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