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Calls for More Self-Build Homes

Building your own home should not be considered a pie in the sky dream, says the new housing minister, Mark Prisk.  At a conference in London, organised by the council of Mortgage Lenders, Mr Prisk indicated that self-build could play an important part in boosting the UK housing market.  I'm not pretending self-build is the entire answer, but it is an element I want to encourage you to incorporate, he told the audience.

As a nation, we are well behind other countries, when it comes to DIY homes; only 10% of new homes are self-build.  Compare this to 45% in the States and 60% in France and Germany.  However, self-build has become more prominent thanks to TV shows, such as Grand Designs.  The process typically involves the purchase of a plot of land, the employment of an architect to design and then a builder to make it a reality.  It's not necessarily a cheap option though; it is not unusual for the price of the land to be almost as much as the value of the house that can be built on it.

The Government has set aside a £30m investment fund to promote self build.  Sites in north east Derbyshire and Peterborough have recently been approved for a slice of the funding.  However, many are sceptical about the contribution that self-builders can make; most homebuilders and lenders believe it will only ever be a niche market.  A spokesman for the Home Builders Federation said that self-build is not the solution that will solve the housing crisis, whilst Mark Clare from Barratt Developments indicated caution, stating that self-built homes still needed to be financed and required expertise to put them up.

According to Savills, 15,300 people built their own home in 2011, which was more than any of the UKs leading developers; there were 11,171 completions by Barratt, 10,180 by Taylor Wimpy and 9,360 by Persimmon. This is because all the major developers have slashed their output by 30-40% since the credit bubble burst in mid 2007. If these figures are accurate, then they show that DIY homes are a major player in todays market, fuelling calls for low-cost loans for aspiring self-builders everywhere.

Sources: bbc.co.uk, ft.com (image courtesy of channel4.com)