UK Government Drives Forward Self-Builds

The British government has announced its intentions to kick start a growth in self-builds as a means of responding to the current housing shortage in the UK.

The announcement was made by Housing Minister Mark Prisk alongside Kevin McCloud, the presenter of Grand Designs. The UK self-build market is smaller than expected for Europe, and as a result the government is launching a new scheme to help new home buyers seek out suitable plots across the UK.

Reports show that the self-build market in the UK in 2012 was at 12,000, or 7.6 per cent of the new UK housing supply. Hungary is at 52 per cent, the Netherlands are at 10 per cent andFrance sits at 38 per cent.

As part of the announcement, the British government has stated it intends on doubling the output of self-build housing to up to 200,000 within the next 10 years.

According to the Lloyds Banking Group report Build-it-Yourself, the UK self-build market needs to undergo significant structural and cultural changes if it is to become a viable housing option in the future.

The report, undertaken in partnership with the Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York, highlights that over the last few years,innovations in land procurement avenues focused on multi-plot, individual and group self-builds have emerged. However, the issue lies in whether or not the current rate of self-builds is sufficient enough to adhere to demand.

Red tape appears to be one of the biggest hindrances to boosting self-build regulations and the self-build market. Local authorities are central to the process and can actively impact the volume of self-builds, but many local governments operate individually and do not prioritise self-builds.

Self-builders are typically older than other homeowners and are generally affluent, allowing them to rely on equity, savings and mortgage loans. Younger generations struggling to get into the housing market, aren’t able to do this. One way to deal with this is to lessen how difficult it can be for younger households to access financing.

It can also take up two years to access land for a self-build and the build itself can take as long as two more years.

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