The lender held a cross-party roundtable at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on Monday to discuss a package of support for SME property businesses to scale up and deliver more homes across the country.
Christian Faes, co-founder and chief executive of LendInvest, was joined by housing and business policy experts including Chris Philp MP – a member of the chancellor’s Treasury team; Mary Robinson MP – a member of the communities and local government select committee; Richard Bacon MP; and Peter Aldous MP.
In addition former deputy mayor of London for housing Richard Blakeway; property CEOs Tom Bloxham MBE and Marc Vlessing and Manchester-based Labour councillor David Ellison joined the debate.
Restricted finance access
The event follows the publication of a report by LendInvest earlier this year on the challenges faced by property SMEs. These include constrained access to finance and distorted policy around regulation, taxation and access to land.
At the time of the report LendInvest said only 12.5% of new homes built today are constructed by small builders, down from 37.5% before 1990.
Faes said: “There are five times fewer small scale developers today than in the last housebuilding boom and not a single one of today’s top ten housebuilders was created before 1990. There is a clear monopoly in the sector.
“What was clear from our discussion is that more must be done to level the playing field for property entrepreneurs so that they can do business with confidence. This means sweeping away barriers to finance and land for SMEs, as well as celebrating industry initiatives to improve skills in the sector. The cost of doing business must also be reduced.”
Richard Bacon MP added: “Politicians talk often about building more homes as if it were politicians who build them. Let’s stop focusing on targets and let the builders get on with it. The government’s role is to remove barriers, not add to them.”
It is a year since LendInvest launched its property development academy to help equip small developers with the skills required.