Firms need greater degree of certainty, says Home Builders’ Federation

Whoever wins the general election next week must extend the Help To Buy (HTB) scheme past its current 2021 cut-off date, according to the Home Builders’ Federation (HBF).

Arguing for the extension in its blueprint document for the next Parliament, the HBF said house builders needed certainty over HTB’s future in order to assess land development opportunities and said the scheme itself may need to be “tweaked to ensure it has most impact on increased housing supply”, following criticism that in some cases it helped people who did not need it.

Despite these reservations, the HBF said Help to Buy had been a “phenomenal success”, helping around 120,000 households to buy a new build home since April 2013, around 80% of whom were first time buyers and been “absolutely key” to achieving the more than 50% increase in housebuilding seen over the past three years.

The HBF also called on the next government to “beef up” the National Planning Policy Framework to encourage the provision of more specialist homes for the UK’s ageing population. “Local councils’ statutory duty to plan for housing for older people in their local plans and housing needs assessments should also be strengthened,” it added.  

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the HBF, said the social implications of the UK’s housing shortage were “becoming ever more apparent with today’s young people struggling to own a home, high rental payments preventing them from saving for a mortgage deposit and ever more people in sub-standard or temporary accommodation and on local authority waiting lists.

“Building homes helps address social issues, whilst creating jobs both directly and in the supply chain and delivering investment in existing communities.”