BUDGET THAT BUILDS FOR THE FUTURE
Housebuilders today broadly welcomed steps in the Budget aimed at boosting housing supply. In particular;
Confirmation of the extension of the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme to 2020. This gives companies large and small, confidence for the future so they can recruit the builders and apprentices needed to construct the homes we need. The scheme is currently delivering around 2500 sales per month and has already led to a sharp increase in supply.
Announcement of a £525m fund targeted at small and medium builders. HBF suggested a “Help to Build’ scheme to Government for SMEs and therefore welcomes Builders Finance Fund. The biggest constraint on small builders ability to build has been a lack of development finance. Addressing this will enable them to increase output, contributing to the overall increase in supply and the number of jobs being created
Commitment to release public land for development. Doing so has been a long-standing commitment from Government. We now need to see much more land come forward to enable builders to meet the level of demand the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme is producing.
Large developments/garden cities. Funding for infrastructure, such as a travel link for Barking Riverside; a commitment to build a garden city at Ebbsfleet, and measures to identify future Garden Cities are all welcome. These are not short-term fixes but provide longer term boosts to future housing supply
Zero carbon homes. The commitment to publish the results of the zero carbon consultation shortly is welcome. Developers need certainty for what is a complex and challenging requirement.
Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of HBF, said today:
“All the indicators show a significant increase in house building in recent months. The measures announced today, in particular the extension of the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme, will enable the industry to increase output in a sustained manner.
“Extending the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme is a very positive move. It will mean more homes are built, allow builders to get on with planning their businesses and employ the people needed to help tackle the country's housing crisis. Help to Buy has reinvigorated the home building industry, contributed to a sharp increase in new housing starts and allowed thousands of First-Time Buyers and second-steppers onto the housing ladder. This in turn has seen the industry recruiting thousands of staff, including apprentices, so providing an economic boost to the country.
“We very much welcome the commitment of money for small and medium-sized builders, a move HBF proposed to Government. A lack of development finance has been the biggest constraint faced by smaller companies. The fund will allow them to increase their output, so adding to the overall supply of homes and number of jobs created.”
The Budget measures will build on the clear signs already emerging of an increase in house building activity; CLG statistics showed housing starts last year were up 23%; HBF’S own Planning Pipeline report showing permissions granted up 24% year on year; or NHBC’s registrations figures from January showing a year on year rise of 28% provide clear evidence home builders are building more homes.
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Notes to Editors:
The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the principal representative body for private sector home builders and voice of the home building industry in England and Wales. HBF member firms account for some 80% of all new homes built in England and Wales in any one year, and include companies of all sizes, ranging from multi-national, household names through regionally based businesses to small local companies: www.hbf.co.uk