THE number of new homes registered to be built in the North West rose by seven per cent last year.

Despite a slow start to the year caused by wintry weather, 18,079 new dwellings were registered by the region's housebuilders - up from 16,916 the year before.

The figures have been compiled by the NHBC, the warranty and insurance provider for new homes.

Across the country, new home registrations kept pace with 2017.

Overall, developers registered 159,617 new homes with the NHBC over the year. This was 0.5 per cent down on 2017.

The private sector fell by one per cent to 117,497.

The affordable sector stayed essentially level, at 42,120 new homes registered.

The trade body said for the year as a whole, eight of the 12 months showed an increase in registrations from the year before.

It stated: "This includes seven straight months of growth following the slow start to the year, caused by the freezing weather conditions, and is despite uncertainty in the industry around Brexit."

Six of the 12 UK regions saw more new homes registered in 2018 compared to the year before, including the North West (up seven per cent), Yorkshire and Humberside (up 20 per cent) and Northern Ireland (up 39 per cent).

London, meanwhile, saw a 10 per cent drop.

The NHBC's chief executive Steve Wood said: “The full–year figures of nearly 160,000 new-home registrations demonstrate the resilience of the UK housebuilding industry. 2018 has been a demanding year, with the extreme weather conditions in the early part and the continuing political and economic uncertainties, which are extending into 2019.

"Whatever the environment, NHBC will continue to support housebuilders to deliver the high-quality new homes the country needs.”

The NHBC's ten-year Buildmark warranty covers around 80 per cent of new homes built in the UK, having covered nearly eight million homes since it began and now protecting around 1.5 million homes.