New figures suggest Help to Buy is driving the building of new homes
But critics say that more needs to be done to tackle national housing crisis
Alex Johnson has been part of The Independent's online team since 2007. He has been writing about microarchitecture on his internationally-acclaimed Shedworking blog since 2006 and is the author of Shedworking: The Alternative Workplace Revolution. His latest book is Bookshelf, published by Thames & Hudson.
Thursday 21 November 2013
A total of 28,580 new homes were started by private house builders in England between July, August and September, according to the latest government report, up 29 per cent on the same period last year.
It suggests that the figures show confidence is returning to the house building industry helped by the launch of the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme earlier in the year.
Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the Home Builders Federation, said: "Help to Buy is increasing demand for new homes and the industry is responding. People’s inability to buy in recent years has been the biggest constraint on the industry’s efforts to build more homes. If people can buy, builders will build. Help to Buy is allowing people who can afford to buy a home to do so, meaning builders can get on with building the homes the country needs.”
Mark Clare, Chief Executive of Barratt added: "If we can sell homes more quickly we can build more quickly and we are rapidly increasing production. We now have the confidence to target the construction of 45,000 homes over the next three years and we are investing in land and bringing it through planning to meet increased demand. We are also expanding the business by taking on 600 new apprentices and graduates to tackle the skills shortage that could constrain future growth.”
But Grainia Long, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), said the figures also showed worrying elements.
"While it is encouraging to see increases in starts and completions in the three months to September compared with the previous quarter, these figures show we are still nowhere near tackling our national housing crisis which is causing misery for millions of people who are unable to secure a decent home at a price they can afford," she said.
"Annual housing completions dropped eight per cent in the year to September to 107,950, less than half the number we need to be building to accommodate our growing population. It is also deeply worrying to see a 25 per cent drop in the number of new build affordable homes provided in 2012 to 2013."
Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive said that the figures showed that Help to Buy was failing to deliver the volume of new homes needed. "We’re building less than half of the 250,000 homes needed each year just to keep up with demand, ," he said, "and the small increase in house building starts is no way near enough to get close to this total. Worryingly the number of affordable homes built has fallen significantly, spelling disaster for the thousands of families we see every day who are struggling to cope with soaring housing costs.
"In a property market that’s already heating-up with pent-up demand, Help to Buy is a backward step. If the government is really committed to rolling up its sleeves and getting more homes built, there are plenty of more straightforward ways to do it than relying on state mortgage guarantees to fuel debt. Freeing up local authorities to build, planning new garden cities and improving access to land that can be built on are all good places to start.
"For many young people on average incomes a 95% mortgage with Help to Buy simply isn’t affordable and, coupled with rising house prices, sees the dream of a home of their own slip further and further out of reach."
Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, said: "We must not get too swept away, as we could see something of a New Year hangover as the initial blast of buyers drawn in by Help to Buy dies down and media attention dwindles. While the forthcoming Mortgage Market Regulations could also further put the footbrake on as lenders look with more caution. Coupled with this we have a severe shortage of housing, which could threaten house prices rising out of reach if it isn’t addressed imminently. While we already have Help to Buy, what we really need now is a ‘Help to Build’ scheme, and this should be a government priority moving into 2014.”
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar
A newly refurbished one-bedroom flat in the heart of Mayfair, close to Grosvenor Square
A charming four-bedroom house overlooking Burleigh Square Park, close to Thorpe Bay
A three-bedroom farmhouse with a large inglenook fireplace and exposed beams
A boutique mews house, set around a central courtyard, with three bedrooms and a private roof terrace
A four-bedroom farm-conversion with three bathrooms and two reception rooms
Life & Style blogs
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
- 1 Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 4 Now diplomacy has failed, boycotting Israel might be the only way we can protect the people of Gaza
- 5 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- < Previous
- Next >
£80000 - £90000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am current...
£65000 per annum + 15% Pension, Health, Travel & Bonus: Progressive Recruitmen...
£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BW/BO CONSU...
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I recruit for contract mechanical design...