HBF continues to explain housing realities

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) has been busy providing common sense responses to counter ‘expert’ comments that have not been helpful to the housing sector and economy’s continued recovery.

Following Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg saying Help to Buy should be curtailed if necessary, HBF Executive Chairman, Stewart Baseley, explained: “The Help to Buy equity loan scheme has supported demand for new build homes and its extension provides certainty about longer-term demand. This is allowing the industry to plan ahead, rebuild capacity lost in the downturn and deliver. This is providing desperately needed homes and also creating jobs on sites across the country and in the supply chain.

The HBF then went on to de-bunk landbanking myths by demonstrating that housebuilders are not hoarding land.

Launching a report, Permissions to land – de-bunking the landbanking myth, the HBF said its research showed that 63 per cent of land owned by Britain’s larger homebuilders is on sites currently under construction. The Federation also explained that with the nature of large sites, homes would be delivered at various stages of completion and could take years to build out.

The report found that most of the remainder of the land was in the planning pipeline without an implementable consent. Only 4 per cent had an implementable planning permission with work not yet started on site and 31 per cent of the plots (68,500) were on sites that had only outline permission. This means that housebuilders cannot legally start building, or are being delayed while they wait for planning conditions to be discharged. This translates to around 185,000 plots in the planning system that cannot be built on.

Baseley believes that “this report is just the latest of many to de-bunk the myth that homebuilders hoard land. When you look beyond the rhetoric and the lazy accusations, the facts are quite clear: housebuilders do not hoard land or landbank unnecessarily. The debate really needs to be about how we get the land in the planning system through more quickly to build the homes we need and not about myths.”