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Briefings

Member Briefing: HBF publishes 'statement of intent'

Date: 11/05/16

HBF publishes 'statement of intent'

HBF this morning published a Statement of Intent on behalf of the Major Homebuilders Group outlining a shared ambition with Government to deliver a million homes in this parliament.

The Statement follows months of detailed negotiations with various Government Ministers and officials with regards to how the industry increases its output.

Throughout the discussions we have continually emphasised the significant progress that has been made in terms of housing supply in the past two years; and have stressed the potential negative impact on that progress of introducing any punitive or onerous policies, an approach we know some in Government favour.

We have carried out a significant amount of research on output levels, in particular with regards to large sites, to demonstrate the actual rate of building and how that has accelerated as a result of the positive policy environment we have worked hard with Government to create.

The announcement today commits our determination to work with Government to enable progress to be maintained and HBF will be looking a number of work streams in this regard. It is the latest step in our discussions with Government and we will continue to push them hard for further policy interventions, not least with regards to the planning system and helping smaller builders, to ensure you are able to continue to grow your businesses.

The Statement published this morning is as follows;

11 May 2016

HOUSE BUILDERS SHARE AMBITION TO DELIVER 1 MILLION HOMES

The Home Builders Federation (HBF), on behalf of its larger members, share the Government’s ambition to deliver 1 million homes by 2020.

The Government has made significant strides to support the industry to build more homes, including through simplifying and streamlining the planning system, providing financial support to see sites built out, and help for purchasers of new build homes. The Government continues to respond to barriers to housing growth, including through reforms in the Housing and Planning Bill 2015-16.

The HBF and its members have responded to the positive steps the Government has taken, increasing delivery significantly since the trough of 2010. Larger HBF members are now building 60 per cent more homes than in 2010.

Delivering 1 million homes

HBF and its members recognise that delivering 1 million homes requires significant further action from the house building sector and that there needs to be a substantial increase in the number of homes they deliver.  

Accordingly, HBF’s largest members have an ambition to match their current rates of growth and in 2019 build more than double the number of homes they built in 2010.

HBF and its members cannot achieve this alone but are committed to undertaking the following actions to help ensure delivery:

Seeing sites built out at speed

Progress has been made. On large sites of over 350 homes, we now see build out rate doubled from 2010, depending on local conditions.

However, HBF’s larger members have committed to go further. Working with the HBF, they will conduct reviews of all their large sites to see where build out rates can be increased further. These reviews will include examination of the potential for more outlets, diversifying the range of homes sold on sites, reviewing scheme phasing and consideration of releasing later phases to other builders, including smaller firms. HBF will report back to Government on the initial outcomes of these reviews during the summer.

Working with Planning Authorities to meet local need

Achieving an expansion in house building requires collaboration and transparency - between developers, Local Authorities, land owners, utilities and others.  As part of their projections on five year land supply, Local Authorities currently work with these stakeholders to set out a robust five year land supply, using assumptions on build out rates.

To improve this process, the HBF and their members are committed to increasing transparency around build out rates on a site by site basis. HBF’s members commit to provide annual returns to local authorities on actual and projected build out rates of current and future sites so Local Authorities have accurate information, enabling them to ensure plans will meet local need and that planning decisions are better informed.

Where build out rates are not as forecast, increased transparency will allow barriers to be identified and overcome. Local authorities, members of the community, and the Government will monitor the delivery records of individual buildersand the roles of other key stakeholders in ensuring homes are built at a suitable rate.

Support for smaller builders

Both the government and the HBF are committed to increasing the number of smaller builders and the number of homes they build, and supporting specialist house builders, including those delivering retirement housing.

The government has taken measures to help smaller builders through financial support and a planning package that makes getting permission to build on smaller sites quicker, more certain and less costly.

HBF and its members recognise that they have an important role to play to support smaller builders. A key barrier to smaller builders is access to developable sites. Accordingly, the HBF will set up a Land Exchange service which will enable house builders to advertise or purchase sites, including phases of large sites. 

Stewart Baseley

Executive Chairman