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More support needed to meet UK housing needs

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The UK must look beyond the big building firms if a solution to the housing crisis is to be found, a new build expert has warned.

Andy Frankish, new homes director at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said while big housebuilders were expanding their output, smaller firms were missing out.

He said after the election in May, the government of the day must take steps to address the situation.

“One of the big difficulties is that the planning system is not being used to its full potential,” he said.

“Many smaller developers simply do not have the time and resources to prosper through the speculative housebuilding model, which – for all the efforts of the bigger firms – is holding back total output.”

“If we are serious about hitting housebuilding targets, we cannot expect to rely solely on larger builders spending heavily on land and battling the system to secure planning permission.”

Figures released last week showed there had been a 0.6% slowdown in house building during February, something which Frankish said needed to be addressed.

“We need to complement their efforts with new, innovative thinking and by increasing support for options like custom build,” he added.

“This can help smaller developers to contribute more, by giving them better access to finance and cutting out the high marketing costs often associated with new build homes.

“There is no single solution to the housing crisis, but through better use of the planning system, custom build can make a far bigger contribution to new housing stock. The low risk associated with this type of home is very attractive to mortgage lenders. With greater backing and favourable planning consent, custom build can introduce a high number of plots to the market in a short space of time.”

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