Reacting to the department for communities and local government figures which found that housing starts were down 9% in the quarter to March, managing director of Aldermore Group, Charles Haresnape (pictured), said that many difficulties remain in a range of areas for the house building sector.
“There have been several good initiatives such as ‘planning in principle’, but hitting housebuilding targets is a large-scale challenge and changes need to be much more radical, such as selectively opening up green belt land near existing infrastructure”, said Haresnape.
“A holistic approach is required. For example, even if planning permission was drastically overhauled, without significant imports Britain would still need to at least double brick production to build over 200,000 homes in a year.”
He said that the government’s goal of building one million new homes by 2020 is achievable, but that innovation and a shake-up in housing policy is required at “almost every stage of the process.”
“Lenders in particular have a huge part to play by increasing access to finance to smaller developers, who often struggle to get projects green-lit without a funding agreement”, said Haresnape.
A recent study by De Monfort University found that just 14 lenders offer commercial development loans of £5m or less, while 31 lend to larger developers.