5 Must-Read Research Reports on New Build Roadblocks

Want to find out more about the challenges facing New Build developments in the UK? Here is a collection of some of the latest research; showing the extent of the issue alongside proactive solutions for a better future. 

Addressing Our Housing Shortage: Engaging the Silent Majority

Shelter : March 2015

Although a little dated (2015) this report highlights some of the persistent challenges around the building of new homes. 

Key findings include:

• There is a sharp contrast between those who support homes being built in their local area, who are typically renters and shared owners, compared to the ‘outright owners who tend to oppose homes being built in the local area – reflecting the extent to which these groups are affected by the shortage of housing.

• Active opposition and support are more common among people living in rural areas, highlighting that housing is more hotly contested in these areas.

• The main reasons for opposing local housebuilding are pressure on local infrastructure and services, particularly roads, and the loss of green space. Loss of green space is more important to younger people, pressure on local infrastructure to older people.

• Actively opposing or supporting a local development is not particularly common – 86% of people have not done either.

Bringing home ownership back into reach: Assessing the Help to Buy Equity Loan Scheme after five years

Home Builders Federation : September 2018

This report summarises the positive impact the Help to Buy Equity Loan Scheme has had not only in helping First Time Buyers onto the property ladder, but driving a new wave of New Build housing supply.

Key findings include:

• Because Help to Buy is exclusive to new build homes, demand for new properties has increased since 2013, and builders have increased the number of homes delivered to better meet this demand. Since Help to Buy was introduced in 2013, net housing supply has increased by 74% to similar levels seen in the 1950s.

• The extra demand for new homes has seen unprecedented increases in investment by house builders in land and labour with planning permissions up by 88% over this period, clearly demonstrating a continued appetite by developers to sustain the recent increases in supply and deliver more new housing over the next three years in particular.

• Whilst transactions in the wider housing market remain subdued (down 21.4% on 2006 levels) activity in the new build market continues to rise. New builds now account for almost 15% of mortgaged housing market transactions compared to a long term average of 8.2%.

• Unlike previous attempts at such schemes, Help to Buy has been accessible to builders large and small, with over 3,000 companies, the vast majority of them small local builders, now registered.

Improving the home buying and selling process : Summary of responses to the Call for Evidence and government response

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government : April 2018

Although not a dedicated report on New Build, the summary of responses to the Call for Evidence did include discussion around New Build (page 48 onwards). 

Key findings include:

• Over 13% of all respondents said that developers should provide a fixed completion date for the build and give more information about expected timescales. 

• Over 6% of respondents argued that developers should be regulated and an ombudsman set up to enforce these regulations. 

• Where something goes wrong, house builders and warranty providers should fulfil their obligations to put this right. 

• The Government are keen to improve redress for people who experience problems with their housing and to make them feel empowered to challenge poor practices when things go wrong. 

• 15% of respondents stated that buyers should be encouraged to secure a Decision in Principle before they make an offer on a new-build property. 9% of all respondents stated that developers and lenders should have pre-approved mortgages, valuations and/or surveys for new builds.

• The Government is clear that buyers of new build homes should not be placed at a disadvantage when compared to purchasers of second hand homes – and will continue to work with lenders and mortgage brokers to discuss specialised products for the new build market, including an extended Decision in Principle.

Rebuilding Trust: Discussion Paper

Grosvenor : July 2019

This research report explores why the public doesn’t trust the planning system, developers or local authorities when it comes to large-scale developments and their impact – and what could be done to begin creating better relationships and more trust for everyone’s benefit. 

Key findings include:   

• Just 2% of people trust developers to act in an honest way in large-scale development, and only 7% of people trust their local councils. That they only care about making money and do not care about the needs of the local community were key driving factors behind this mistrust. 

• A demand for more transparency throughout the planning process was also highlighted. 

• There is often a clash between high expectations and reality. Developers might be expected to fund social housing, for example, without regard to the commercial feasibility of doing so.

Hard Choices : How much should the nation spend on building new homes?

London First : September 2018

This report reviews the current spending on building new homes and what needs to be done (in real terms) to address the funding gap. 

Key findings include:

• Looking at the current capital cost of delivering new housing in England, it is estimated that the current cost of delivering 300,000 homes a year in England is c. £67.6bn. Compared to current investment of c. £47.9bn, this is a c. £19.7bn increase, or 40%. 

• Viable options for filling this gap, ranging from the Government filling the gap, the private sector filling the gap, or exploring the possibility of a mixed economy – where the Government increases its capital spending on housing delivery, while also creating a more enabling policy framework to encourage greater levels of private sector investment.

• The historic under supply of housing has placed significant upward pressure on the cost of housing, which has contributed to the current affordability crisis.

• There is a consensus across all the major political parties about the extent of, and challenge presented, by the housing crisis. There is agreement that more homes must be built, but a divergence of views as to how this might be achieved.