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A raised profile for the flat

FLATS and maisonettes are the main types of housing being started in England, according to the National Home Building Council.

With the level of high-rise buildings increasing in recent years, flats and maisonettes made up 51 per cent of new homes started in England during this year's third quarter – almost double the combined percentage of semi-detached and detached homes started (28 per cent).

Imtiaz Farookhi, NHBC's chief executive, said: "Flats and maisonettes have been the dominant housing type in England since 2003."

Additional statistics by NHBC for quarter three 2007 show applications to start new homes increased when compared with figures for the same quarter last year.

Some 50,250 applications were made to build new homes in the UK – a 21 per cent rise on the same three-month period in 2006. Of that, 40,876 related to private sector activity, a 16 per cent increase on the same quarter of 2006 (35,105).

Housing association starts totalled 9,374 – a rise of 49 per cent on quarter three of 2006 (6,294). Based on actual selling prices, during the third quarter of 2007 the proportion of new homes priced at over £150,000 went up to 77 per cent, an increase on the same period in 2006 (71 per cent).

First-time buyers found their ability to buy dropped again in the third quarter of this year. NHBC's first-time buyers' ability-to-buy index decreased by six points during the quarter to 35.

The index is based on a formula which takes into account average cost of homes bought by first-time buyers, average income and mortgage interest rates (from the Nationwide). The higher the index, the greater the ability to buy.

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