Ministers have also played fast and loose with the figures. Building of affordable homes shot up in the second half of last financial year because it had shrunk to almost nothing in the first half.
For Minister Grant Shapps to claim this as a triumph was cheeky, to put it mildly. The sensible comparison is with the year previously, and when you look at the numbers that way it’s clear that home building has fallen.
But it’s also fair to note that the Homebuilders Federation is expressing a degree of optimism about the future, thanks partly to policies introduced by the government.
They include measures making it easier for potential buyers to obtain a mortgage as well as relaxed restrictions on planning permission – a mixed chalice for councils, who know that new developments are not always popular with existing nearby residents, but a change that should benefit the economy.
And even if the timing was lousy, the new affordable homes scheme may work out in the long run. At this stage, nobody can say they know for certain what the outcome will be. The data isn’t there.
What’s clear is that in its earliest stages the new funding regime led to a dramatic fall in affordable home building, to the detriment both of potential residents and the wider economy.