Government fund can help diversify the house building industry, says FMB

Published:  30 June, 2014

According to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), the new £150m government fund to help finance plots for custom build housing is good news for both homebuyers and the house building industry.

Brian Berry, FMB chief executive, said: "In recent decades the house building industry has suffered from the loss of too many small firms. The capacity of the industry and diversity of what it offers has suffered as a result. The government today released the prospectus for the £150m fund which will provide loans to developers to finance infrastructure provision for up to 10,000 serviced plots. Growing the custom build sector could better utilise the capabilities of many skilled small firms with experience of delivering one-off projects, but who have stopped building in recent years.”

Mr Berry continued: "Different models will suit different businesses, but the model of taking sites, putting in the infrastructure and then selling on as individual serviced plots to buyers wishing to commission their own home, often with the possibility of taking on that commission, is a model which will also have appeal to some small developers. While finance remains difficult to come by for smaller firms, this funding will act as a boost.

"The fact that this fund can apply to any site of five units or more is extremely important and shows that government has listened to advice from the FMB. Recent government funding initiatives, while welcome, have set a 15 unit threshold which effectively excludes the large number of small firms who do not build to this scale. The five unit threshold should enable the participation of a much wider range of firms and should help boost the capacity and diversity of the house building industry."

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