Homehaus | 24th May 2013 | By: Homehaus

Changes Needed to Make Self-Build for All

Changes Needed to Make Self-Build for All

A new report suggests long term Government initiatives and support for younger, less affluent families are needed to get self-build moving in the UK.

The Build It Youself? report, commissioned by Lloyds Banking Group in partnership with the Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York, highlights the need for ‘significant further structural and cultural change’ if self build is to become a viable, conventional housing option for all within the next decade.

The report identifies potential for growth in the sector – which currently makes up less than 8% of new residential builds nationally - if Government commits to key initiatives to double the output of self-build housing from 100,000 to 200,000 beyond 2015.

On individual projects, the findings show that currently self-builders are older and able to draw on equity, savings, and mortgage loans to fund build costs.  It suggests making finance more accessible for less affluent and younger households in order to increase volume in the sector.

Self-build is regarded as a highly bespoke activity that demands significant time and financial investment – in some cases taking up to two years to find and purchase a site and the same again, in some cases, to complete a build.

The report reveals that the average self-build project costs around £255,543, and if it is to become a realistic prospect for lower income families then the current forms of procurement will have to adapt to accommodate their lack of equity and savings.

The market - which is currently worth around £3.6bn per year - would also get a boost if private sector organisations and housing providers can be convinced of the demand and cost effectiveness of self-build.

It was found that pilot initiatives led by developers, local authorities and housing associations were emerging in various regions, focussed on group self-build delivery and multi plot individual schemes. These have shown some success in helping self-builders overcome problems such as limited experience, access to land, provision of project management and help securing planning permission.

The report did however criticise local authorities – seen as pivotal in increasing self-build volume - for continuing to ‘operate in isolation’ and failing to make self-build a priority.

Stephen Noakes, Mortgage Director at Lloyds Banking Group, said:

"The recent Government led initiatives have been encouraging, but they need time to work and if the outcomes are to be successful then these activities need long term support.

"If the sector is to grow and become part of the mainstream market then more work needs to be done in terms of sharing information and standardising practices. We need to see more coordination between both national and local government and the lending industry if we are to achieve this.

"On top of this, a finance industry wide working group would help generate a greater understanding of the risks and could encourage more lenders to enter the market."

Dr Alison Wallace at the Centre for Housing Policy added: " Unlike the guidance offered to first time buyers, key agencies do little to inform self-builders of what is required of them and what they can expect from the process.

“If the sector is to become a mainstream component of the housing market, attracting younger, less affluent households, its structures and processes-along with the support provided -will have to be smarter and more co-ordinated.”

Richard Bacon MP, Founder, All Party Parliamentary Group on Self-Build said: "Self-build shouldn’t be the preserve of the most affluent. It needs to become a mainstream part of our housing supply to give people more influence, choice and satisfaction in the provision of their own homes.

“We need to make people more aware of the tremendous possibilities of self-build.”