Political parties have different views on many aspects of housing policy, but according to a report issued this week they agree on one thing: we cannot solve the housing crisis without smaller builders.
The report by the All-Party Political Group for small and micro businesses has issued an inquiry and makes four recommendations to support small housebuilders:
1. Access to finance for small housebuilders must be urgently addressed. Many small builders are living hand-to-mouth and simply don’t have the access to capital to progress
2. Payment practices must improve and the Government should take action to support small housebuilders in supply chains
3. Jobs and skills are critical - more must be done to encourage more people to pursue construction and support it as good career option
4. More small sites should be available and planning should be fast-tracked, using ring fenced fees from increased planning fees.
These recommendations firmly put the onus on the Government to make bold policy decisions and take affirmative action to fix the housing crisis - it is really encouraging to see political parties uniting in this call to action.
Small housebuilders as well as large housebuilders are an absolutely integral part of the solution for housing in London and the rest of the UK, if the Government is to meet its 300,000 homes target for 2018. There has been recent pressure on larger housebuilders to build more, but whilst they already contribute a huge portion of the homes being built, they cannot be responsible alone for fixing the crisis - smaller sites are really suitable for smaller builders who can be more nimble in developing these sites.
Promoting the attractiveness of the build to rent sector could also have a signifiant role to play, as it can de-risk projects for developers by providing an upfront investor and could alleviate some of the finance and payment issues identified in the report. We discuss this further in our article: https://www.grantthornton.co.uk/insights/could-btr-help-overcome-the-uk-housing-crisis/.
As part of our Vibrant Capital week (14-18 May 2018) we will be bringing together housebuilders, government and local authorities, investors and other stakeholders to talk about the challenge of housing and to collaborate to make sure London remains one of the best cities to live, work and do business through. If you want to be part of the conversation, please get in touch.