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  • Nicky Frost

Boris supports Custom and Self Build homes

This week Boris Johnson gave a speech bolstering the Conservative’s commitment to giving more people the opportunity to own their own homes. Importantly, he stressed that this vision included owner-commissioned homes, saying: “We are supporting self-build and custom-build homes, as has long been proposed by my colleague Richard Bacon.”

Acknowledging that, in 2021, house prices rose faster than wages, he also referenced the fact that we remain one of the slowest and least prolific home-building countries among all 38 members of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

Boris set out the party’s vision for more people to access housing. This includes:

  • Unlock publicly-owned brownfield land for house building

  • Unlock small sites, which are more welcome in communities, with a priority for first-time buyers and key workers supporting custom and self build

  • Continue to use planning rights to turn disused agricultural buildings into homes for local first-time buyers.

To do this, greater access to finance is essential via lower deposit schemes, as saving a 10% deposit is a barrier for many. This is because, for first-time buyers, a home now costs nine times their income, as opposed to just four and half times their income in 2002.

To address this, Boris announced a comprehensive review of the mortgage market, to report back by Autumn.

In addition, he also proposed extending the Right to Buy to housing association tenants, to help get more people on the housing ladder, but with the caveat that there will be a one-for-one replacement for each social home sold – something that did not happen in Thatcher’s version of the scheme.

One proposal is to channel some of the £30 billion in housing benefit into mortgages, to bring hundreds of thousands of families into the housing ladder.

What is Right to Build?

To boost housing figures, the government wants to make self and custom-build easier and more popular. The Right to Build legislation was introduced to help self and custom builders find a building plot for self-build or custom-build purposes. By law, local authorities or district councils must keep a ‘Right to Build’ register of people wanting building plots and ensure they have enough sites available.

Between 31 October 2020 and 30 October 2021, the local authority data shows:

12,263 new individuals joined the register, an increase of 31% from the same period a year earlier

157 new groups joined the register, an increase of 12% from the previous year

58,813 individuals were on the register in total, an increase of 25% from a year earlier

759 groups were on the register in total, an increase of 14% from 2019-20

8,309 planning permissions were granted for serviced plots suitable for self and custom build, an increase of seven percent from the same period a year earlier

What are Custom Build schemes?

With Custom-Build homes, the buyer contracts with the builder to design and construct the home. These schemes are often set up by a developer – the plots are serviced, have planning consent granted and professionals are ready to construct the house for you.

The aim of custom-build schemes is to create well-designed houses as they allow buyers to create a new home to meet their requirements, based on pre-designed, customisable plans. Typical options include a choice of house type, internal layout, and interior design alternatives. The buyer receives a house that has been plastered and painted, with services in place ready for connection.


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