The National Self Build Housing Association called on the government to identify 50 big sites on public land that could be made available for self-builders to boost a sector that currently represents less than 20 per cent of the housebuilding market.
‘The one real hurdle that is holding back the expansion of the self-build sector is the availability of land,’ says the report. ‘We believe the current level of self-building could easily double or treble, if more land was available on the market. This could be achieved in a matter of months and would have a huge impact on the flagging housing market.’
Alex Ely, partner at London-based practice Mæ, who has done his own research championing the self-build sector, welcomed the report, but said that the key issue was not the availability of land but the funding and delivery of the infrastructure needed to facilitate self-build schemes.
‘At the end of the day, government agencies and local authorities pay lip service to self-build but don’t put the resources into providing the enabling infrastructure,’ said Ely.
The report, Self-build as a Volume Housing Solution, also recommends the formation of a new government agency to speed up servicing and selling of land for self-build. Such an agency could help broker agreements with developers under which they would provide self-build plots as part of Section 106 planning agreements.