More than a quarter of a million homes were granted planning permission in England in the year to March 2015, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
During the 12 months, English councils gave consent for 261,000 new homes – the highest annual total for eight years, DCLG said.
The government also claimed that local support for housebuilding had doubled in the past four years, rising from 28% in 2010 to 56% currently. Meanwhile, opposition to local housebuilding more than halved during the same period.
Housing minister Brandon Lewis commented that the pre-2010 system of "top-down targets built nothing but resentment. Our reforms, a key part of our long-term economic plan, have changed that.
"It means that permissions have been granted on 261,000 homes in the year to March – higher than the pre-recession peak in 2007 – while housing starts are more than double what they were six years ago.
"And with the Housing Bill set to include measures to bring forward brownfield sites, we're determined that we will keep the country building while protecting the green belt."
Separately, Lewis called upon former servicemen and women to consider new careers in housebuilding, pointing out that the country’s armed forces were "well-equipped" with skills vital to the industry, including those relevant to construction, civil engineering and the built environment sector.