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UK Housing Market Still Struggling with Lack of Residential Stock...

1st August 2013

We need to build more houses..!

It is well publicised that Great Britain is not building enough new housing to cope with the growing demand, and the quality of the homes that are being built are too poor.  However, after a year of intense research concerning this problem, RIBA’s Future Homes Commission has produced a report that sets out some possible solutions in order to assist the house building revolution.

Although there have been many different published articles and reviews on the building industry, the Commission’s findings significantly conclude that “Britain needs a revolution in the scale, quality and funding of home building”.

According to the report, two million British families are still on housing waiting lists and we need new homes..!!

Over the years, there have been a number of Government initiatives, aiming to improve the house building industry, which have never met the targets that they put forward.

So, what does the report propose..?

  • The number of new homes being built each year must exceed 300,000 – it is suggested that this would end the ‘blight’ of poor housing by building in or close to every city, town and village in the UK.
  • Better designed new homes for today and tomorrow – todays’ home buyers are often disappointed with the new homes available to prospective purchasers compared with similar developed western economies.
  • More power for the consumer – currently there is too little choice in the market, with less information available to prospective purchasers compared with similar developed western economies.
  • A £10 billion Local Housing Development Fund should be set up to give the big build the kick-start that it needs, this would be financed and owned by the Local Authority pension funds, which have combined assets of over £180 billion.  Once the new communities are established in this way, they will attract conventional risk-averse investments.
  • More input from Local Councils – they will have the task of taking the lead role in promoting new communities under the powers of the Localism Act.

With little Government resources available and overworked planning teams, finance is a large factor of pushing this ‘revolution’ ahead, which is why the use of Local Authority pension funds is proposed to fund new housing developments.

Although the findings of this report sound promising and offer solutions, we have to consider how likely it is for the industry to achieve the levels of building outlined.  300,000 new homes is almost three times the current annual industry output, and the viability and practicalities of building this amount needs to be questioned.

Rob Smith, Warranty broker at Evolution Building Warranties comments; “We have seen a steady increase in demand for building warranties, latent defect and judicial review insurance over the last 12 months.  The housing shortage continues to be a concern and as structural building warranty specialists, we look forward to more building taking place.”