The government is already undertaking a review of whether land-banking by large house builders in order to increase profits is worsening the housing crisis, and Javid’s comments to The Times struck a firm tone with housing developers who, he feels, are too slow to turn plots into homes.
While his comments may prove popular with the electorate, there is concern from house builders that they are being used as scapegoats. The National House Building Council sees land banking as a perceived issue, rather than a genuine barrier to increasing the supply of housing. Important as it is to eliminate obstacles to new house building, Javid should take care not to alienate the very companies who can help the Government achieve its ambitious housebuilding targets. It is also vital that land-banking is not used as an excuse for not dealing with the real issue, which could be the time it takes to secure planning permission.
Property developers deny hoarding land and argue it makes more sense to build in good time to make a profit on investments.