The number of dwellings where building work started stood at just 15,930 in Q2 2020, a 52% fall compared to Q1 2020, statistics from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) show.
Similarly, the number of new builds completed was 15,950 in Q2 2020, a 62% drop compared to Q1 2020.
Andy Sommerville, director of Search Acumen, said: “This latest data reveals the scale of the damaging impact that strict lockdown measures and the showdown of building sites had on the construction sector.
“While there were signs of recovery as sites began to re-open and demand from buyers rose sharply in order to exploit the financial benefits offered through the higher Stamp Duty threshold from July, more recent market analysis has shown a drop in appetite, particularly from first time buyers.”
He added: “This follows the spike in Covid-19 cases which is causing economic uncertainty but is also a result of reduced availability of mortgages. The second wave is likely to dampen demand in the short term and also hamper the benefits of the Stamp Duty scheme, especially as the cut off point for completing transactions ahead of the deadline is fast approaching.
“Additional delays in the transaction process have been incurred due to overreliance on outdated processes.
“But this is not the moment to abandon hope. The past few months have seen rapid advancements in more agile ways of working and an uptake of technology that we cannot risk being left behind.
“The industry needs to continue to put better data consumption across the property market – from construction to conveyancing – in order to better identify risks upfront, drive efficiencies and bolster the UK economy in the months to come.”