Lloyds Forecasts Self Builds to Almost Double by 2021

Friday, January 23, 2015

The current pace of house building is insufficient, with both social and private sectors falling far short of demand. Of the many issues bubbling to the surface ahead of this year’s General Election, the housing shortage and its effects may be the largest elephant in the room for both parties. While Parliament scratches their many heads over how to solve the issue, the Lloyds Banking Group Commission on Housing has released an exhaustive report on the major hurdles the house building industry currently faces and how they may be realistically overcome.

The Commission – co-chaired by Conservative MP Mark Prisk and Labour MP Nick Raynsford – investigated the need for long term policies and investment, dedication from both parties and a consistent, clear planning framework creating robust Local Plans.

Raw output may be at the heart of the issue, but the symptoms spread across society. Lack of output from major private house builders has pushed many who should be buying from that sector into social housing, who in turn also are unable to meet demand. The pressure is at bursting point for both sectors, raising prices and restricting public investment in housing that’s essential for economic growth and social mobility.

Due to the knock on effects they have on each other, the report emphasises the need for support across all sectors to ease the burden for all. If one finds more gain, it can compensate if another falls short. Bottlenecks like land release and labour inevitably limit any acceleration, so there needs to be dedication to gradual, long term growth.

“A realistic target is to complete 2 million to 2.5 million homes by 2025,” the report reads. “To achieve this there is no single solution, no silver bullet. Rather what is needed is a larger, more competitive and diverse market in the supply of homes.”

Part of this diverse market is self building. As Richard Bacon MP found when formulating his Self Build and Custom Housebuilding Bill, there’s a frustrating lack of data on this sector. Research commissioned by Lloyds estimated that around 12,000 self builds are currently completed per annum.

As we’re well aware, there’s a growing and hungry appetite for self building in the UK. The report expects to see this good health continue, forecasting 22,000 completions per year by 2021 – which would be a truly transformational boost for the sector.

Overall, the commission sees house building as a political priority. The industry, bureaucracy and policy supporting the required growth all needs to be improved, put into action with Strategic Plans and direct community engagement and assistance for those who have the expertise to build brilliant British homes.

In its conclusion the report recommends that particular encouragement be directed towards SMEs and self-builders. With SMEs in dire need of support after their plummeting decline and self building seeing exponential growth, they’re prime candidates to pick up the slack where larger house builders fall short.

Overall the report is essential reading regardless of whether you’re directly involved with the house building industry. The impact of the housing shortage can be felt across the whole country and it’s important we all gain better understanding of the problem ahead of this year’s election.

By John Dyer-Grimes