Recent improvements in the UK economy and a willingness of banks and building societies to start lending for mortgages have led to a rise in the number of housing developments currently under construction.
This is really good news for the building industry, which was undoubtedly the industry hit hardest at the start of the economic downturn and the slowest to recover.
Now that the construction industry is showing signs of recovery, we thought it would be good to take a look at how building are firms trying to meet the increasing demand for new homes and how the treasury is helping first time buyers get onto the property ladder.
New Developments Get A Helping Hand from Planners
In an attempt to close the supply and demand gap in available properties,George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequor, has helped the construction industry by relaxing planning regulations. Councils are now encouraged to automatically accept applications to build on brown field sites.
This relaxation of planning rules is a further measure from the Treasury, who had previously relaxed the rules on the changes a homeowner could make their property without the need for planning permission.
This latest assistance from the chancellor has undoubtedly been a catalyst in starting many new developments by easing the planning process, which had previously been both a costly and lengthy process.
If you want to find out more about planning permission and the changes that are now in place, you can do so online at the Governments Planning Portal.
New Construction Methods
The building industry has adopted many innovations to speed up the construction of houses. These new methods have an industry used term – MMC, which stands for Modern Methods of Construction. Most common amongst these MMC is the use of Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) which are constructed offsite, transported to the site and assembled. The brickwork, windows and roof of the house are then built around the SIPS panels.
Building on brownfield sites that has been previously overlooked for construction purposes sometimes means that the landscape isn’t as ideal as land that builders would usually seek. In cases where houses are built into steep hillsides Sheet Piling is used to create retaining walls.
Together these faster methods of construction and the ability to use land that would not normally be considered for housing developments is helping to increase output of new homes by the building industry.
Further Help from the Treasury
The biggest barrier to first time buyers getting onto the property ladder is the size of the deposit required to get mortgage approval. Many financial institutions require a minimum of a 20% deposit, which is almost impossible for savers to achieve if they are in rented accommodation.
To help these first time buyers out, the Government has introduced the Help to Buy ISA, into which the Government will pay £50 for every £200 saved by individuals. The accounts allow for an initial deposit of £1000 and a have a maximum monthly deposit cap of £200. The maximum amount of Government help available per Help to Buy ISA is £3000.
The really great news for couples who are buying their first home is that each person can have their own Help to Buy ISA, meaning that you can double the amount of help available from the Government.
To find out more about Help to Buy ISA accounts, we recommend you check out the Government Fact Sheet online.
The availability of Help to Buy ISA’s for the next four years offers both builders and buyers helping hand. We look forward to reporting the effects of these incentives in around a year’s time when we will have statistics about take up rates.