Shapps calls for self-build boom
Mortgage providers should lend more to people who want to build their homes to kick start a self-build movement in the UK, a Government minister has said.
Housing minister Grant Shapps says people in the UK already build more houses themselves than any one housebuilder, but the industry is still much smaller than almost anywhere else in Europe, something the Government wants to change.
The minister also wants to see a change in the image of the self-build market as a preserve for the wealthy living in the country.
He said: "I want to create a self-build revolution where building your own home is not just the preserve of the privileged few and as the mortgage market continues its recovery, lenders have the ideal opportunity to diversify lending into areas such as this."
Last month the Government launched an initiative to help reduce the barriers faced by prospective builders such as regulation, lack of access to land and development finance, but it says lenders also often shy away due to the perceived higher exposure to risk.
Mr Shapps said that in reality the majority of projects are not "DIY builds", but involve professional builders, architects and project managers.
Interest in self-build homes has picked up since the start of the year, with the first quarter seeing a 30% increase in mortgage offers, according to BuildStore, a company that sources building plots and loans for self-builds.
BuildStore chief executive Raymond Connor said the self-build market can offer high quality lending in a market currently worth £2 billion annually.
"As well as enabling more people to build the homes they want and need, funding the self-build sector also helps to boost local economies and supports the construction supply chain," he said.
Martin Bell, head of customer lender lending at Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, added: "While many may think a self-build project is beyond them, it is likely to be much cheaper than buying an existing property and the satisfaction of living in a home that you have seen built from scratch is difficult to match."