Politicians must act if desperately needed new homes are to be built in Wales

10 Mar, 2016

Politicians must act if desperately needed new homes are to be built in Wales

Next Government needs to restore confidence and reverse withdrawal of investment                                  

HBF has set out the five key steps it feels the next Government needs to take to address the housing crisis in Wales and reverse the chronic undersupply of new homes.

Building Communities, Boosting Investment’ (Welsh version here), calls on Government to reduce the regulation that currently makes it much more expensive to build homes in Wales than in England; It also advocates measures to incentivise development on previously used land; and for Local Authorities to be forced to face up to their responsibilities and put in place constructive housing plans.  

After years of undersupply, developing policies that allow the industry to provide the homes Wales needs presents a huge challenge for the next Government. The social benefits of better matching housing supply to demand are clear but the document also highlights the economic implications of increasing housing provision.  Building the homes Wales needs could help to sustain up to 25,000 new jobs in addition to the 30,000 already reliant in some way on Welsh house building.

The plan was presented to candidates of all main political parties at a special housing hustings in Cardiff last night (Thursday 10th).

The document highlights worrying statistics that suggest that investment by private house builders in Wales is falling as companies look to build elsewhere. To address this HBF is calling on parties and candidates standing at the elections on 5th May to adopt a pro-business attitude and support more small developers to build tomorrow’s homes and communities.

HBF’s five point plan involves:

Reducing regulation to allow small local house builders to plan for, and build more homes, and encourage larger developers to expand output in WalesReview the system if appointing ‘preferred housing associations’ which reduces the number of homes – both private and affordable – which can be builtPromote building on brownfield sites via a powerful presumption in favour of development on previously developed landEncourage more local authorities to adopt up-to-date Local Development PlansRecognise the positive role that planning can play in supporting local economies

Commenting on the Plan, HBF Executive Chairman, Stewart Baseley said:

“This election will be a critical one in our efforts to tackle the housing crisis in Wales. The divergence in policies between Wales and the rest of the UK and the complexities faced by Welsh developers have resulted in a worrying shortfall in the number of homes being built. This though presents an opportunity for the next Government to make a real difference by prioritising housing policy so that companies will see investing in sites as an attractive proposition.

“Companies of all sizes have finite resource and so will only invest where it makes sense to do so. Developers stand ready to help address decades of undersupply but want to hear a clear commitment by those standing for office: politicians need to demonstrate that they are ready to create the conditions that allow builders to build so we can see more desperately needed homes provided, and at the same time, thousands of new jobs sustained.”

For media enquiries, or to arrange an interview, please contact Steve Turner on 020 7960 1606 / 07919 307 760 or steve.turner@hbf.co.uk

Notes to Editors:

 Welsh Government statistics show that between 2015 and 2031, Wales needs 8,700 to 12,000 new homes per year whilst current delivery is around 7,000 per yearHouse building in Wales is currently responsible for an estimated 30,000 jobs and contributes around £11m per year for education facilitiesIn the year to September 2015, 7,442 planning permissions were granted but this included the lowest number of private homes for sale or rent since 2012Since the start of 2013, the number of private units granted planning permission in England has risen by 49% whilst falling by 4% in WalesThe number of 20-34 year olds living at home with parents in Wales has increased by 40% in just 10 years

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the representative body of the home building industry in England and Wales. HBF’s members 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