Boost for new housing
Earlier this month the government announced that it is to "directly commission" 10,000 new affordable homes to be built on public land. This is a shift from the norm, with the government (rather than the usual large building firms) taking responsibility for the developments. The aim is to help small firms pick up work and speed up house building.
New homes have been on the political agenda for some time. It’s no surprise to many that the UK is short on affordable housing and especially starter homes. With first time buyers facing huge deposits and a stricter mortgage application process, the government is aiming to build 200,000 starter homes by 2020, which will be offered to first-time buyers under 40 at a minimum 20% discount price.
The announcement this month kicks off the process with up to 13,000 homes set to be built on five publicly-owned sites this year:
- Brownfield land - Old Oak Common, north-west London
- Former Connaught Barracks - Dover
- Ex-MoD land – Northstowe, Cambridgeshire
- Former hospital site - Lower Graylingwell, Chichester
- MoD site - Daedelus Waterfront, Gosport
Up to 40% of these homes set to be starter homes, making the buying process easier for first time buyers. The government has also announced a £1.2bn Starter Homes Fund to build 30,000 affordable starter homes on underused brownfield land in the next five years.
So what does this mean for you? Well if the scheme does offer the opportunity for smaller firms to take on work, then this could be a welcome boost for the plumbing and heating industry in the areas undergoing the scheme. More homes are always going to be good news for the domestic plumbing and heating engineer. Also if you are under 40 and looking to get on the housing ladder, then the scheme could mean more than just more work, it could give you your own front door too. It’s been around 30 years since the government took control of building houses under a scheme such as this, so time will tell how things work out, but what is for sure, the move to build more houses on brownfield sites is a step in the right direction, both for the housing crisis and environmentally.