1. Overview

This release provides data on newly built dwellings in the UK. Where possible, data are presented separately for dwellings started and completed, and split by sector (private enterprise, housing associations or local authorities), and at the country level. Data at the local authority level are not split by sector but may be available from the original sources.

Individual country-level statistics are available separately from the producers of each country’s statistics (see Related links). In addition to country level data, we have compiled house building starts and completions, by financial year, for local authorities across the UK. Stakeholder feedback has pointed to a need for these data, and we intend to update them regularly. We welcome further views and feedback, for example by email at better.info@ons.gov.uk.

This article provides the most up to date data available for each geographical area and time period at the time of publishing. The most recent UK-level data available are for the financial year ending March 2022, however, the UK data are not currently as up to date for quarters (Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2020) and calendar years (2020). The UK data are created by aggregating previously published data from the four UK countries. Data for individual countries may cover more recent time periods.

Unfortunately, coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected some data collection in 2020 and 2021. New house building data in Wales are currently available by financial years and due to coronavirus, data for 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021 are combined into one release. Quarterly releases have now resumed from April 2022. We will continue to publish calendar year and quarterly figures on an individual country and a UK basis where possible.

The latest house building statistics show that in the financial year ending March 2022 there were 204,530 dwellings completed in the UK. By country, the following number of dwellings were completed:

  • 171,190 in England
  • 5,270 in Wales
  • 20,770 in Scotland
  • 7,300 in Northern Ireland

There are limitations of comparability across the UK in these statistics. Each country produces its own statistics on house building, which are subject to revisions and have variations in sources and how the data are collected and processed.

The statistics presented in this release do not cover all new housing supply. For example, they do not include conversions and changes of use. In addition, for England the figures do not include data sources that become available later on, such as local authority returns (which capture additional new builds to those reported in the sources used in this release based on building inspector reports). These are available for England through the Department for Housing, Levelling Up and Communities' Housing supply: net additional dwellings series. See Limitations of the data in the Data sources and quality section for further information.

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2. House building data

House building, UK: permanent dwellings started and completed by country
Dataset | Released 8 November 2022
Time series data on starts and completions of new build dwellings in the UK, on a quarterly and annual basis, split by housing sector, where available.

House building, UK: permanent dwellings started and completed by local authority
Dataset | Released 8 November 2022
Time series data on starts and completions of new build dwellings in local authorities across the UK, on an annual basis.

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3. Data sources and quality

A dwelling is counted as "started" on the date work begins on the laying of the foundation. It is counted as "completed" when it becomes ready for occupation or when a completion certificate is issued.

These statistics are based on administrative data sources. Information about the data sources, and the earliest time periods for which data are available from each of the four UK countries is available as follows.

Data sources by country

  • England: local authority new build form returns; National House Building Council (NHBC) data; approved inspector data returns
  • Wales: local authority building inspectors; NHBC data
  • Scotland: local authority new build form returns; Scottish Government Affordable Housing Supply Programme
  • Northern Ireland: District Council Building Control

Earliest time periods available (starts and completions, and by sector, unless stated)

“Sector” refers to new dwellings constructed by private enterprises, housing associations, or registered social landlords and local authorities. Other data providers may use the term “tenure”. Statistics on starts for Wales are not available split by sector from the financial year ending 2012.

Data by country, quarterly

  • Wales: April to June 1974 onwards
  • England, Scotland, Northern Ireland: January to March 1978 onwards

Data by country, by financial year

  • England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland: year ending March 1970 onwards

Data by country, by calendar year

  • Scotland: 1945 onwards, completions only
  • England: 1946 onwards
  • Wales: 1946 onwards, completions only
  • Northern Ireland: 1949 onwards, completions only

Data by local authority, by financial year (earlier time periods are available from the original sources)

  • England, Wales and Scotland: financial year ending March 2010 onwards
  • Northern Ireland: financial year ending March 2015 onwards

Each publication of these UK statistics will reflect revisions made in the source data from each country. This ensures that statistics for the UK are consistent with the latest statistics, at time of publication, in each constituent country.

Uses and users

The datasets in this release give timely information relating to starts and completions of new dwellings in the UK. They are used to inform government housing policy, and for housing market analysis and research. They are also used by forecasters and decision-makers, including at the Bank of England. The compilation of the UK data in this release also allows international comparisons of housing supply.

Limitations of the data

These statistics provide a timely leading indicator of housing supply, however, there are limitations of coverage and comparability. For England, more comprehensive (but less frequent) measures of changes to the size of the dwelling stock are published annually in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities' Housing supply: net additional dwellings series. These provide a fuller measure of new housing supply based on additional sources, including building control, site visits, and Council Tax and planning databases.

A small amount of data for England are missing and therefore imputed; and the latest new house building figures for Scotland contain some estimates for a small number of local authorities.

For England, figures on new build dwelling starts and completions are from records kept for building control purposes. The house building figures reflect the sector of the developer building the dwelling rather than the intended final sector. This may lead to an undercount of housing association and local authority starts and completions recorded in these tables and a corresponding overcount of private enterprise figures. This problem is more likely to affect starts than completions.

For Wales, data are based on the reports of local authority building inspectors and the NHBC, a private approved inspector; it does not include information from other private approved inspectors. It is sometimes difficult for building control officers and NHBC to identify the intended final tenure of the property (the basis for the tenure information). This may lead to an under-count of social sector new house building and an over-count for the private sector. Within the social sector, it may also lead to an under-count of local authority new house building and an over-count for the registered social landlord sector. Therefore, the sector data should be treated with caution.

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5. Cite this article

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 8 November 2022, ONS website, article, House building data, UK: financial year ending March 2022

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Contact details for this Article

Tim Pateman
Telephone: +44 1329 444783