Craig Hall is new build manager at Legal & General Mortgage Club
The start of the 2017 has been a particularly exciting time for the UK’s housing market. With the announcement of the eagerly anticipated Housing White Paper at the end of January, it’s great to finally see a real push from the government to tackle Britain’s housing shortage. For far too long now, the housing market has been plagued with a chronic shortage of affordable homes for the average first-time buyer.
With this in mind, it was encouraging to see the government announce its support for SME house builders. At the moment, over 60% of new homes are currently built by 10 large companies. It is time that we started injecting more diversity into the house building industry, so that smaller companies can finally have an opportunity to make their mark. Incentivising more housebuilders will also increase the country’s capacity to meet its housing targets, and ultimately address the lack of supply that is making it so hard for the average Briton to become a homeowner.
The new build market certainly has the ability to deliver. Over the past couple of years, it has been encouraging to see this sector go from strength to strength. Since the launch of Legal & General New Build Club three years ago, we have seen a significant shift in this part of the housing market. Both our lenders and broker firms are continually and collaboratively working to deliver a more sustainable, competitive and diverse new build mortgage market. Now, and collectively, the industry must work to provide the hundreds of thousands of affordable homes that our country is in desperate need of.
Without a doubt, diversity will be essential to opening up what has previously been quite an exclusive and narrow market. Many first-time buyers have found themselves completely priced out of the housing market, leaving many hopeful homeowners to pursue rented accommodation instead. To address this issue, we need a new build market that caters for the majority, not the minority, and the key to catering for the majority is delivering diversity and choice.
We expect to see the number of our broker firms and mortgage lenders grow further. After hosting a variety of successful events and forums over the past three years, including our Shared Ownership Forum and our Customer Build Conference, we are planning to hold further new build events this year. And our aim remains the same – to improve the understanding and processes between lenders, brokers, housebuilders and housing associations.
The new build sector has the chance to reshape the nature of our housing market. The market must therefore seize the opportunity offered by the Housing White Paper and ensure that the government starts putting into action the pledges we have been promised to tackle our housing shortage. With this collaborative approach, the new build market will finally be able to reach its full potential.