Mortgage Advice Bureau comments on ONS house building statistics for February

Andy Frankish, New Homes Director at Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), comments on the -1.6% slowdown of private house building during February:

“The slowdown in private housebuilding for a fifth successive month will do nothing to ease first time buyers’ fears that affordability pressures are here to stay unless politicians take decisive action. Short term schemes to help with deposit savings and mortgage access are all very well, but we also need a long term commitment to new ways of increasing housing stock.

“One of the big difficulties is that the planning system is not being used to its full potential. Many smaller developers simply do not have the time and resources to prosper through the speculative housebuilding model, which – for all the efforts of the bigger firms – is holding back total output.

“If we are serious about hitting housebuilding targets, we cannot expect to rely solely on larger builders spending heavily on land and battling the system to secure planning permission. We need to complement their efforts with new, innovative thinking and by increasing support for options like custom build. This can help smaller developers to contribute more, by giving them better access to finance and cutting out the high marketing costs often associated with new build homes.

“There is no single solution to the housing crisis, but through better use of the planning system, custom build can make a far bigger contribution to new housing stock. The low risk associated with this type of home is very attractive to mortgage lenders. With greater backing and favourable planning consent, custom build can introduce a high number of plots to the market in a short space of time.”