Experts: Councils should be forced to hand over self build land.
The UK’s leading think tank has urged the government to use new powers to force councils who do not build enough housing to hand over unused land to self-builders. They believe that the country needs to build 1.5 million new homes by 2020, or face a housing crisis.
The Policy Exchange says that just 125,000 new homes were added to the country’s housing stock in 2012. They believe that 300,000 per year are needed to keep prices and rents at a manageable level, while Shelter believe 250,000 new homes per year are needed in England alone.
An editorial in the Independent on 7th November urged the government that ‘Britain needs to build, and on a grand scale‘, but the Policy Exchange report fears that ‘spendthrift councils’ will fail to meet housing targets. It suggests that should this be the case, the councils should be forced to hand over unused land to those wishing to design and build their own homes. The editorial correctly points out that redeveloping brownfield sites and filling empty urban properties will not meet the needs of an ever-expanding chasm between supply and demand.
“We currently add approximately 100,000 new homes each year, but demand is running nearer 250,000. The result is poor living conditions and increasingly unaffordable prices. The trouble with the Government’s vaunted Help to Buy scheme is that, while it may help counteract banks’ post-crisis unwillingness to lend, without a concomitant expansion of our restricted housing stock it will merely inflate the property-price bubble still further.
The shortfall between demand and supply has built up over too many years; and with the number of households expected to increase by another fifth over the next two decades, the problem will only get worse. Business as usual will not do.” – The Independent, 7th November 2013
There is no doubt that these are exciting times to be considering the case for self-build.