Lack of finance cuts self-build

Published:  18 August, 2011

LONDON: The number of self-build housing projects continues to fall despite housing minister Grant Shapps' campaign to boost numbers.

Self-builders produced about 20 000 homes in 2007 at the height of the housing market. That number has almost halved with 13 860 self build homes produced in the year to March 2011 – a decline of 11.5% on the previous year. That is barely 10% of the total 105 000 new homes built annually.

Michael Holmes, editor-in-chief at Homebuilding & Renovating, says: "The average duration of a self-build project is 18 to 24 months, compared to eight to nine months for the speculative development market, so the latest figures reflect conditions and sentiment during 2008/09 when the mortgage crisis was at its worst.

"Numbers are unlikely to improve significantly until the availability of self-build funding returns to more normal levels and confidence in the housing market recovers.

Mr Shapps is urging lenders to find ways of financing self-build and he backs a plan suggested by the National Self-Build Association for a revolving fund, financed by banks and other lenders, to enable groups of self-builders to combine on a project, and to borrow money to purchase land and materials.

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