An unexpected announcement from Prime Minister David Cameron indicates the government’s responsibility for new home development and says it will “directly commission” small firms and companies to build up to 13,000 new affordable homes on public land, instead of relying on the market to prompt construction and help to speed up the process.
The government has described the decision as a “radical new policy shift” with five publicly-owned sites designated. The work will begin this year, with around 40% of the new homes falling into ‘starter home’ category and
Cameron states that “nothing like this has been done on this scale in three decades – government rolling its sleeves up and directly getting homes built.”
One of the greatest challenges to grow housing supply has been described by the director of research at Hometrack, Richard Donnell, is the loss of capacity from small builders whose numbers have been halved between 2007 and 2013.
He comments “Only 2,710 are estimated to have been building in the last year. The barriers to small builders developing homes have risen with planning and finance risks limiting access to the market”.