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Housing minister welcomes construction figures

Housing minister Brandon Lewis has announced that 700,000 more homes have been delivered in this parliament and the number of empty homes is at a ten-year low.According to new government statistics, there were 138,640 housing starts in the 12 months to September - an increase of 16 per cent on the same period last year. This figure is 84 per cent higher than it was at the lowest point of the housing crash in June 2009.Since the end of 2009, a total of 700,000 new homes have been delivered in England, while the number of empty homes has fallen by 160,000.However, the latest data also reveals a ten per cent decrease in the number of housing starts when compared to the previous quarter, with the figure estimated at 33,000. This represents a rise of one per cent on the same period in 2013.Seasonally adjusted completions are estimated at 31,130 in the quarter to September 2014 - a rise of five per cent on the previous three months. The seasonally adjusted level of completions in the September quarter 2014 climbed by eight per cent on the same quarter a year earlier.Mr Lewis welcomed figures showing the increased uptake of Right to Buy and a rise in the number of affordable homes being built.Some 2,845 council-owned properties were sold under Right to Buy between July and September this year, with a third of these sales taking place in London.Construction work began on 11,556 affordable homes between April and September this year, meaning 217,000 such properties have been delivered since 2010.Mr Lewis said: "Whether it's building new homes or bringing empty properties back into use, we have pulled out all the stops and are delivering the homes this country needs."He added that the rise in housebuilding is due to the coalition's reforms to the planning system, which have ensured developers are able to do their job and homeowners get the assistance they deserve. 

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