Beat Housing Shortage with More Self-Build

A new report by housing charity Shelter identifies self build as a key route to increasing housing supply
Chris Bates, Editor of Build It magazine
by Chris Bates
1st August 2013

Self-build can help overcome England’s housing shortage, according to a new report by Shelter.

The housing and homelessness charity believes that greater support for self-build, especially at local authority planning level, could deliver an additional 15,000 to 21,000 homes every year.

That represents a sizeable chunk of the 100,000 to 150,000 annual shortfall in new home building (which tots up to an alarming 1 million fewer homes than we need every 7 years). This shortage of supply is driving up the cost of housing and putting an affordable home out of reach for many families.

Among Shelter’s key recommendations are:

1. Open up the market to new delivery agents and vehicles by:

  • Giving local authorities a bigger role in housing delivery
  • Promote new towns and garden cities
  • Supporting self build

2. Fix the land market so there is enough land available at reasonable prices, for example by:

  • Investing public land
  • Community Land Auctions
  • Increased use of compulsory purchase

3. Attract more private and public investment. Routes include:

  • Direct central government spending
  • New settlements for council borrowing and investment
  • Use of new government guarantees for private investment
  • Develop robust new approaches to securing cheaper land

Support for self-build among local authorities would be bolstered by measures such as community land auctions, which would open up more viable plots for custom homes and community self build schemes.

Perhaps Shelter’s most radical call to action is the idea that, where local authorities fail to meet their housing delivery targets, they should be compelled to open up non-allocated land for development by self builders, small builders and affordable housing providers. Such an amibitious move would surely boost housing supply across the board.

Read the full report

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