A surge in public support for local house building activity has been welcomed by the government.

According to the latest British Social Attitudes survey, 56 per cent of people in the UK would be happy to see new residential accommodation built in their area. This is 28 per cent higher than the amount recorded five years ago.

Meanwhile, the proportion of respondents who oppose local house building has fallen from 46 per cent in 2010 to 21 per cent.

Brandon Lewis, the housing minister, has attributed the change in public sentiment to the government's efforts to put power "back in the hands of communities".

He said this marked a change from the previous state of affairs where "local people felt powerless in the face of Whitehall targets dictating the future development of their neighbourhoods".

Mr Lewis added that the reforms have led to 240,000 homes being granted planning permission in the year to October 2014, while the coalition's efforts to help aspiring homeowners get on the property ladder means the number of first-time buyers is at its highest level in seven years.

The government noted that initiatives to boost the supply of affordable homes have also been particularly successful, as nearly 217,000 have been delivered over the last five years.

Furthermore, it said the number of council house building starts currently stands at a 23-year high.

Some 27 per cent of those polled for the British Social Attitudes survey said they are in favour of moves to allocate funding to housing associations and councils to create more homes.