The UK’s Chancellor’s housing ambition doesn’t just stop at first-time buyer support. Philip Hamond’s first budget announcement suggests he understand the country’s housing crisis will only be fixed by an increase in house building.
But, will the measures he has chosen, deliver the homes the UK so desperately needs?
“The Chancellor’s first budget wasn’t a big give away, but nor did it greatly offend too many potential voters,” said Belgravia estate agent, Best Gapp. “His commitment to the property construction industry was clear, but it remains to be seen whether the measures he implemented were the right ones to boost the housing supply.”
Encouragement for builders
Hammond has tried to make it clear he wants builder to build more homes. One measure was his £44 billion of capital funding to support the construction of 300,000 new homes per year for the next seven or eight years.
Some of the £44 billion will be spent as follows:
· The ‘home builders fund’, will get £630 million to lend to SME homebuilders in the hope supporting 40,000 newly built properties.
· Housing estate regeneration will have access to £400 million.
· Some £1.1 billion will be made available to help ‘unlock strategic sites’ and fund regeneration.
· There will also be support for private house building, including the build-to-rent sector, to the tune of £8 billion of financial guarantees.
· Some funds for the infrastructure required for the expected 1 million new homes in and between Cambridge and Milton Keynes.
· Funds for 100,000 new homes in Oxfordshire by 2031.
It’s a positive step, but perhaps not ambitious enough.
Indeed, Hammond’s housing and construction related measures have been criticised by industry experts.
The Building Society Association remains unsure the measures will get the required industry and market response. The RICS said the measures weren’t close to being enough.
“Overall, the response so far has been the Chancellors measures were well meaning, but none of them really go far enough,” said Proskips. “More money is needed to help fund building and the infrastructure requirements of building more homes, while stricter rules on land banking a thorough overhaul of the still painfully slow planning process, are all still on the industry’s wish list.”
It’s not just existing, qualified and working builders who were in Hammond’s thoughts. Encouraging more Britons to train in the construction sector and become the skilled builders the UK needs, was also in there.
This forward-thinking approach is more like the measures we need to help with the UK’s housing crisis. We can’t build more homes if the government is brokering a deal to stop the workers we need from Europe moving here to work.
But, if we can cultivate our home home-grown skilled builders, then the problem won’t be quite as acute as it currently is shaping up to be.
However, will £34 million ne enough for this endeavour? Probably not. But hopefully, the injection from the Government will encourage the private sector to support this path.
“If you’re going to throw money at a problem, it needs to be enough or you could just exacerbate the situation,” said Kubie Gold. “Planning for the future and ensuring you can follow through on those plans until they are fulfilled is a good way to go. Hopefully the construction sector agrees and will add its financial support for innovation, training and upskilling existing workers, too.”