The Prime Minister’s pledge to build 100,000 new homes for young first time buyers is a welcome step to help address the housing crisis, but “who will build them?” asks the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Responding to the Prime Minister’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference, Brian Berry chief executive of the FMB, said: ” The Prime Minster has quite rightly placed housing on an equal footing with health and education, but 100,000 new homes is still too few when we need to be building 240,000 new homes every year.”
Berry continued: “Critically it is not clear how these new homes for first time buyers will be delivered. What we need to be seeing is more of a drive to support local house building companies to build the homes in the places that local people want to live. Unfortunately, the number of local house builders has declined rapidly over the last twenty years, with the result that just 27% of all new homes are built by local house building companies.”
Berry concluded: “The Prime Minister’s commitment to new housing needs to be supported by a range of delivery measures to help local house builders compete in the market. Improved access to finance and the availability of more smaller parcels of land for development would do much to help local house builders, and so help create the communities that housing alone cannot deliver.”
Data from Barbour ABI, the chosen provider of the Government’s Construction and Infrastructure Pipeline, shows that 238,000 homes were granted planning permission from September 2013 to August 2014, with contracts awarded accounting for 129,000 units.
This indicates a significant disparity between planning permissions and builds starting on site, following the unveiling of two new housing schemes announced by Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, at the Conservative Party Conference this week.
The data also highlighted London and the South East’s dominance over house building activity, with both regions combined accounting for nearly a third (29%) of all planning permissions in the residential sector. The North West and South West were not far behind with 12 per cent and 11 per cent respectively, and house building at its lowest in the North East (5 per cent) and Wales (3 per cent).