Britain’s housing supply set to increase
As a leading supplier of services and materials for the construction industry, Mone Bros is pleased to learn that there may be signs an increase in house building could bring relief at last to Britain’s struggling house buyers. Inadequate house-building, particularly in London and the South East, has led to house prices in Britain increasing fourfold over the last forty years, but it now seems the government is taking steps to reverse this trend.
Economists calculate that the minimum number of new houses required per year to prevent inflated prices is 250,000, but the last time this target was met was in 1979. Reasons for the lagging numbers of new-builds include problems with obtaining planning permission, with local councils keeping tight rein on building in their area. The government has now put in place several measures to prevent this obstructionism, and measures aimed at encouraging house building include removing obstacles for those seeking planning permission, by taking back control from local councils, thereby preventing them from limiting house building.
As Secretary of State for Housing, Sajid Javid recently put in place several minor changes to planning regulations, that may result in big changes to numbers of applications granted. The measures obliged councils to adopt a plan for local housing in their area. Those failing to do so were identified, and in some cases put into ‘special measures’, with numbers of houses to be built now being the decision of central government. On a positive note, there are plans to raise the amount local councils may borrow, to make more funds available for house building. Housing Associations are also to receive assistance. Rules limiting Housing Association rent increases are to be relaxed, and ‘right to buy’ for Housing Association tenants is to be scrapped.
Following the financial crisis of 2008-09, the number of planning permissions granted to builders has risen steadily, and last year more planning permissions were granted than in any year since 2006. If these planning applications result in actual housebuilding at the same rate as current rates suggest, then Britain may soon reach the 250,000 a year target.
Mone Bros will be pleased to see the problem of insufficient house building addressed, and will continue to provide a comprehensive range of services and supplies to the construction industry throughout the anticipated period of growth in the house building sector.