Number of new homes built in Wales holds steady

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The number of new homes built in Wales in the last year has held steady.

Although the 6,833 houses and flats completed is slightly down on the previous year, it is the second highest figure in nine years.

It includes 1,243 social and council homes, according to Welsh Government figures, which are based on National Housing Building Council returns.

This is the second highest number of new homes for social and housing association landlords since 1998-99.

Newport and the Vale of Glamorgan are where the largest numbers of houses were built in 2016-17. Cardiff had the largest number of flats - nearly a third of the total completed in Wales.

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB), in its programme for government, has called for 14,000 new homes a year to be built in Wales over the next five years.

But it said the figures on Wednesday showed "a lot of room for improvement" and believes smaller building firms should be brought into the mix more, particularly those parts of Wales less attractive to the big house builders.

Ifan Glyn, director of FMB Cymru, said: "Around 75% of homes in Wales are now built by five big companies. House building on small parcels of land needs to be made more attractive to small and medium sized construction companies, who are at the moment working on things like house extensions."

The FMB wants small building firms brought into the local development plan process and for an end to social housing stipulations for small private developments.

Community Housing Cymru, which represents the social housing sector, welcomed the figures.

With the Welsh Government and Welsh Local Government Association, it set a target last year for 20,000 affordable homes to be built by 2021, including 12,500 by housing associations.

AMs discuss housing need

Stuart Ropke, chief executive of Community Housing Cymru, said: "Our members completed 1,224 new homes in 2016-17, 98% of new homes in the social sector. While we have an excellent delivery track record and, in fact, over-delivered on the previous target, continued investment in the sector is vital to ensure that we meet this new target."

It has also highlighted welfare issues facing tenants and support for the construction industry in its Homes for Wales campaign for the general election.

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