Government launches £ 150million fund to start self-build ‘revolution’
The plans, announced over the weekend, will allow people to build a new custom home with just a 5% deposit on top of a government-guaranteed principal loan, similar to the Help to Buy program.
Along with the mortgage deal – dubbed Help to Build – ministers also announced funding for local authorities to develop public land for custom housing and self-built housing, as well as a review of how to increase delivery.
Many people in the UK want to build their own homes, but unlike in Europe, the self-build industry remains a niche market, with only 7% of all homes built this way – around 13,000 units in 2018.
However, the government argues that it is possible to expand it and has said that if the levels were similar to those in the Netherlands, the UK could see between 30,000 and 40,000 individually and custom-built homes each year. .
In 2016, Right to Build legislation was introduced to help custom builders overcome the most common hurdle: finding land. Under this program, local authorities are required to register applications for plots in a register dedicated to the right to build and to help find land for those who have an interest in building their own homes.
However, the system has been plagued by problems. According to responses to FoI requests submitted by the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) in 2019, only 45% of local authorities in England believed they had fulfilled their obligations under the legislation.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now commissioned a review of the Right to Build program, which will be led by MP Richard Bacon.
£ 75million funding for local authorities is now available through the Brownfield Land Release Fund (BLRF), which includes a £ 25million allocation specifically for personal and custom construction,
The BLRF is only available for local authorities to use on their own surplus land to help unblock small sites for housing development.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: ‘Building your own home shouldn’t be for a few people, but a common, realistic and affordable option for people across the country. That’s why we’re making it easier and more affordable – backed by over £ 150million in new government funding.
“The program we launched today will help the thousands of people who would like to build their own homes but have not yet considered it or previously excluded it.
Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, Managing Director of NaCSBA, said: “ The action plan represents the most significant announcement for the custom manufacturing and self-build industry since the inception of NaCSBA ago more than 10 years.
“For too long England has been out of step with the rest of the world when it comes to the lack of consumer choice in our new home market. The consequences of this situation have become too clear, as has the need for change. This action plan will ensure an environment in England which offers more and better housing.
“Our goal now is to get people to see this as a natural approach to getting a new home that meets their aspirations and needs. As a sector, we must do more to strengthen the capacity and business structures that underpin the choice that exists elsewhere. Finally, we need the councils to do their part to ensure that the necessary plots are allowed, so that these houses can be built.