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Self-build could be answer to housing crisis, says think-tank report

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A report has suggested that councils failing to meet housing targets should be forced to release land for self-build

The report by the right-leaning Policy Exchange think-tank believes councils should use land auctions to buy cheap land for self-builders.

Figures suggest the policy could supply around 110,000 new homes in its first year.

The policy would use neighbourhood plans to ensure design and layout fit the local vernacular.

Alex Morton, author of the report, said: ‘Instead of antagonising people with centrally imposed and mediocre or poorly designed new housing developments, the government could instead work with councils to sell off plots of land to local people to design their own homes at a much cheaper price. 

‘This self-build scheme is the last real option to raise private housing numbers before 2015. It also would be popular with people and elected officials.’

Ted Stevens, chair of the National Self Build Association said: ‘There are literally millions of Brits keen to build their own home. But currently only a tiny fraction of those that are keen on the idea are able to realise their dreams. The main problem is obtaining a reasonably priced plot of land. If this solution took off it would transform the housing landscape of the UK, and hundreds of thousands of self-builders would be able to get the homes they really want.’

Self-build accounts for just 10 per cent of new housing supply in the UK - 12,000 homes in the last year. Yet  a recent poll by MORI for the National Self newsBuild Association found 6 million people are actively interested in self-build. In the US self-build is around 45 per cent and in most European countries it over 50 per cent of new homes.

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