Call to double number of self-build homes in UK

Housing minister Grant Shapps is to announce his support for doubling the number of self-built homes in the UK as part of a strategy to “bring self-building to the masses”.

The call to double the number of self-built homes will come next week in a report, commissioned by Shapps and carried out by the National Self Build Association (NaSBA) and officials from the communities department. The report outlines proposals to improve access to finance and land for self-builders.
Self-build accounts for about 10% of the 105,000 homes built each year in England, against 50% in Europe, which has been attributed to a lack of appetite among lenders to fund self-build. This is worsened by a tight credit market and planning restrictions.

The report will call for local authorities to gauge the demand for self-build in their area and incorporate it into their local housing targets, with a simplified planning system for self-builders.

The number of homes built annually has fallen by 37% since the start of the recession, with 240,000 homes a year needed to meet demand. To improve the availability of mortgages for self-builders, the report says a revolving fund, financed by banks and other lenders, should be established to enable groups of self-builders to combine, and borrow money to purchase land and materials.

In June, Shapps wrote to chief executives of banks and building societies calling on them to make more finance options available to those looking to self-build homes.

Shapps is expected to say he will consider the recommendations in the report to make self-build more accessible, including ways to make more land available.