Addressing the shortage of four and five bedroom family homes should be prioritised, says housebuilder

Cala Homes

Political focus on affordable housing and first time buyers is “disproportionate and misguided when placed in a wider market context”, according to upmarket housebuilder Cala Homes.

In a trading statement, the Edinburgh-based group, which operates in the south of England, the Midlands and in parts of Scotland, said that while support for affordable housing and first time buyers was important, “addressing the shortage of four and five bedroom family homes should be prioritised in order to encourage movement further up the housing ladder”. 

Focusing more on providing homes through the life cycle for home buyers, versus an approach which prioritises one level of housing, “should effectively enhance the volume of housing transactions up and down the UK housing ladder”, Cala said.

Reform of the UK’s planning environment was urgently required, the group added, with “delays in the process, most notably in the signing of section 106 and 278 agreements, the clearing of pre-start conditions and unnecessary planning appeals despite officer support” undermining its ability to “build the family homes the country so badly needs”.

Cala’s comments came as it said it expected to post turnover in excess of £700m for the year to the end of June, versus £587.1m in 2015/16.

The business saw 34 new sites – 3,199 plots – contracted during the year with a potential gross development value of £1.3bn. It said its average selling price fell to £497,000 – down from £538,000 a year earlier – which the firm attributed to a continued shift away from the £1m-plus market.