In recent decades, especially since the passage of the Housing Subsidy Act of 1956, considerable government support has been given to housing. For large families building their own homes, government loans have been provided on exceptionally favorable terms, and special rent rebates have been granted to large families occupying apartments in buildings erected by social building societies or in buildings built with government loans since 1950. Subject to certain conditions, housing rebates have been granted to pensioners and invalids. An annual grant is made to reduce householders' maintenance expenses. This extensive support helped to reduce the wartime and immediate postwar housing shortage.
In 1998, there were 2,460,608 dwellings. About 41% were detached, single-family homes; another 29% were detached, multi-family homes. Nearly 51% of all dwellings were owner occupired. About 16,929 new dwellings were built in 1997, mostly by private builders. In the third quarter of 2002, there were about 4,326 new dwellings under construction.