The budget again provided some focus on the house building industry and upped the ante by increasing the governments ambition for new builds to 300,000 pa by the mid ’20’s, levels not seen in 40 years.
The Chancellor took a classic ‘carrot & stick’ approach to encouraging the industry to achieving these targets. On the former he flagged his intention to set aside £44bn to encourage development including abolition of stamp duty for ‘first-time buyers’ on properties costing less than £300,000, £10bn as extra Help to Buy equity loan, £8bn in new financial guarantees to support private housebuilding and the purpose-built private rented sector, £2.7bn to the Housing Infrastructure Fund, a £1.1bn fund to unlock strategic sites, including new settlements and urban regeneration schemes and £34m to help develop construction skills.
The stick was waved regarding the governments belief that developers are deliberately land banking planning consents, presumably to limit the supply of new homes, with reference to use of compulsory purchase powers to acquire land and release the consents.
Greg Oldrieve, Head of Development Services at Vickery Holman, said ‘Whilst helping people buy is welcome, it is supply that more of an issue. I personally see no evidence of land banking in the South West. However, delivery is often protracted by delays in moving sites from outline planning consents through the myriad of detailed approvals including highways and planning to development ready. Resource is also a tourniquet to supply and the support to training is very welcome, albeit possibly too little, but maybe not too late, for the mid ‘20’s.