The non-departmental government body published its five-year strategy promising to increase the pace, scale and quality of new homes delivery, particularly in areas of most demand.
Its plan warns that productivity and innovation in the construction market has been slow and using current rates of change the construction workforce was on course to fall by 25% by 2026.
As part of this it added that skills shortages were particularly acute in traditional areas such as brick-laying and plastering.
“The increase in housing completions in recent years has magnified this problem, with a shortage of construction and professional skills alongside supply limits on traditional building materials,” Homes England said.
“At the same time, while there is increased interest in MMC take up is being held back. This is due to a number of challenges, including limited production and skills capacity.”
However, there is no specified commitment or target for how many homes or what proportion of buildings are completed using MMCs during the five-year period.
Support smaller builders
The agency also expects to help smaller builders develop and become a larger part of the market – it cited a Home Builders Federation report which found in 2017 only 12% of new homes were built by SMEs.
Homes England said: “Our investment will help smaller builders scale up, so that they can access funding privately in their next round of expansion.
“We’ll also unlock and enable sites for the full spectrum of housebuilders and directly deliver enabling infrastructure where necessary.
“In return, we ask home builders to commit to delivering the supply that local areas need at pace, and to building high quality homes and developments.
“We also ask that home builders invest in the next generation of the workforce through apprenticeships and skills training,” it added.
Disrupt the housing market
Overall, the Homes England plan includes six key strategic areas: investment, construction productivity, unlocking land, supporting smaller builders and new entrants, providing support for priority locations, and deliver home ownership products.
Chairman Sir Edward Lister said it would be striking bold deals and forming new types of innovative partnerships to shake up housing delivery.
“In the next five years we will need to make significant changes to the way we deliver homes. Ultimately, we need to disrupt the housing market,” he said.
“It is just the start. This five-year strategic plan sets out our ambitious new mission and the steps we will take with industry to respond to the long-term housing challenges facing this country.”
Chief executive Nick Walkley added: “We will use our land, money, powers and influence to increase the pace, scale and quality of delivery.
“This will accelerate the delivery of new homes in areas of greatest demand and help to create great places.
“That doesn’t mean we will build the homes ourselves. It means we will intervene in the right places at the right time to change the market, by working with ambitious partners and being more intelligence-led in our decision-making.”