House-building surged to a seven-year high at the end of 2015, the latest official figures have revealed.
According to figures released by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) for the final three months of last year, new home-builds in England were at their highest level since 2008.
In the final quarter of 2015, some 37,080 new homes were started, with 37,230 completed.
New home starts were up 23% on the same three-month period in 2014, while completions soared 22% year on year.
In total, the 12 months to December 2015 saw 143,560 housing starts, a 6% rise on the previous year.
During the same period, completions jumped by 21% on the year to hit 142,890.
The figures show that the number of housing starts in 2015 was more than double the rate in 2009.
In particular, the findings reveal that house-builders performed strongly in several southern counties.
These include Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire.
Separate figures released by the Home Builders Federation reveal that the number of new homes granted planning permission in the fourth quarter of last year was also on the rise.
Some 59,845 homes were given the go-ahead between October and December 2015, marking a rise of 12% on the corresponding quarter of the previous year.
And proposals have already been set out to help speed up the planning process, with plans for a fast-track application process set in motion earlier this month.
Welcoming the findings from the DCLG, Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said the aim was now to encourage even more house-building across the country.
“We’ve got the country building again with starts nearly double the low point of 2009 and along with completions hitting a seven-year high,” he said.
“However we’re not complacent. That’s why we’ve set out the most ambitious housing vision for more than a generation, doubling the housing budget so we can meet our ambition of delivering a million new homes.”