Sally Tagg, managing director for Foxley Tagg Planning Ltd and spokesperson for The National Homebuilding & Renovating Show, comments on why the UK housing market is broken – and what can be done about it.
The housing market is a complex beast, however it is underpinned by micro-economic principles in the form of supply and demand. Custom/Self-Builders are therefore at the behest of these principles when it comes to land and finding a site.
The overriding issue is that there are many thousands of people who would love to undertake a Custom/Self-Build, however the cost and the availability of land are huge determining factors which mean their dreams may never see the light of day. The intention of a Custom/Self-Build is to affordably deliver a home that meets your needs, however when plots go from £200k upwards a project just is not viable for most.
The availability of sites is not due to a lack of space, only around 11 per cent of land in England has been built on, the issues relate to the market forces, dominance of larger developers and the planning system (amongst other factors).
The Custom/Self Build sector with the support of NaCSBA (National Custom & Self Build Association) is delivering more homes each year, however the support of Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) is needed. Very few Custom/Self-Build planning policies currently form part of Local Development Plans. Until the majority of LPAs follow the example of Teignbridge (the first planning authority to introduce a planning policy for Custom/Self Build) then demand is continually going to outstrip supply. The release of land on a large scale from government agencies and local authorities would be an ideal solution, the Homes and Communities Agency has already released some land for specific custom build projects but more needs to be done to bring similar sites forward.