RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES: Nationwide Foundation – Why is the work needed?

Why is the work needed?

In recent years the house building industry in this country has built around 110,000 new homes a year, when at least double this number are needed just to keep pace with the rate of new household formations. Everyone recognises that we need to build 250,000 to 300,000 new homes a year, and that the established large volume housebuilders can’t rise to this challenge. Indeed, even if they were to build at maximum capacity – around 150,000 homes a year – there would still be a huge shortfall.

A diverse range of new home building solutions are needed to fill this growing gap, and the self build and community-led sector is widely seen as having enormous promise to help deliver the homes needed for future generations1. There is huge demand from people keen on the idea of building their own homes – seven million people are currently researching how to do it, and more than a million want to get a project underway in the next 12 months. The majority of these people are on modest incomes, as the chart below demonstrates.

A survey2 of 7,000 would-be self builders shows that 41% of them have total household incomes of less than £40,000; and 55% have incomes of under £50,000.

Building your own home can be a route to getting a very affordable property. Typically a self procured home works out at around 25% cheaper; and on community-led group self build schemes savings of nearer 40% are common.

In addition to helping to boost overall home building output NaCSBA’s Research and Development programme will also assist in the following ways:

  • It will enable the sector to better explain to a wide range of audiences – especially lenders, local authorities and housing associations – the many ‘models’ that are now available for delivering affordable homes this way, and the benefits of each
  • It will lead to more lenders becoming active in the sector, and the development of new financial products to service the new models and the growing demand for this form of housing
  • It will provide a practical Toolkit to enable councils to allocate land and facilitate projects, and help community groups access this form of housing. This, in time, will lead to significantly more affordable homes being built nationally

In most other countries between a third and a half of all the new homes are built by individuals who commission or build their own homes; in the UK only around 8% of our new homes are delivered by self builders (and in England the proportion is barely 5%).

1. This was also recently also recognised in Building the homes we need (Shelter, May 2014)
2. This was based on information supplied by people who register to use the Self Build Portal