The minister said the figures demonstrated how more communities were saying ‘yes’ to new development, after planning reforms have put power back into the hands of local people.
It comes as new figures show that in the year to September, planning permissions have risen to 240,000 – showing that the locally-led system and incentives like the New Homes Bonus are working well.
In the year to October 2014, councils have helped provide 154,000 newly-built homes and conversions – including over 42,000 new affordable homes – and brought over 10,000 empty homes back into use.
Mr Lewis announced the provisional allocation of £1.2 billion New Homes Bonus to councils in England that will create new jobs and boost the building industry.
Since the New Homes Bonus was introduced in April 2011 more than 700,000 homes and conversions have been provided, and over 100,000 long term empty properties returned to use – leading to councils receiving almost £3.4 billion, including a £15 million premium for providing affordable homes.
Councils are free to spend the money as they see fit to benefit the local area – including freezing Council Tax.
Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “We’ve got the country building again and given local communities control over where new homes go in their area. This is in stark contrast to the housing crash and failed top-down regional strategies of the last government.
“Councils have received more than £3 billion for their part in getting Britain building, and as a result housing construction has reached its highest level for 7 years.”
Communities Minister Stephen Williams said: “I’m delighted to see the number of long term empty homes going down with 100,000 being brought back into use. Today’s New Homes Bonus payments are in recognition of council-led efforts to make this happen.
“But I want councils to go even further, and use the range of powers we’ve put in their hands to end the blight of empty properties in our neighbourhoods and bring them back into productive use for the families who need the stability and security new home can provide.”