A £150 million Government fund to support self-build housing aims to stimulate growth in this under-appreciated sector.
The UK Government is suggesting that the self and custom-build sector could grow to account for 30-40,000 homes per year. In the UK we seem to be reluctant home builders, with other countries in Europe (that target figure is modelled on the habits of the Dutch) seeing a far higher number of new homes commissioned directly by their owners.
Legislation has been in place since 2016 to give people the Right To Build. In that year the Right To Build Register was established, effectively compelling local authorities to make land available for self-builders. This was designed to solve the biggest issue facing prospective self-builders: a lack of a suitable plot.
However, this single change has not produced the significant rise in Self-Build projects that was hoped and in April 2021 the Government announced a new trench of funding via the “Help to Build” Action plan.
There’s a review, as part of the process, to be led by Richard Bacon MP to suggest practical ways of accelerating the delivery of new homes but there is also finance for self-builders. Help To Build includes provision to lower the required deposit needed for self-builders. In essence, it’s an equity loan on the completed home similar to the Help to Buy Scheme.
Money is also being made available to help communities have a greater say in how their local area is developed and to councils who wish to pilot this newly consultative approach to neighbourhood planning.
At the same time the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) launched a Right to Build Task Force to provide information and support both to self-builders and to the local authorities being asked to help facilitate self-build projects.
Government sees the Custom Build market as a potentially significant contribution to the target of 300,000 new homes per year. It points out that although self and custom-build projects accounted for just 7% of new homes in 2018 that 7% adds up to 13,000 homes. That volume makes self-builders collectively the fourth largest house builder.
We certainly see that enthusiasm here at H+H where our unique Self-Build package sale offer simplifies and streamlines the product procurement process for the SME building contractors working on self-build projects. Our self-builders are definitely some of the most vocal customers and any support for this creative approach to housing supply issues is good news.