Independent review calls for major scale-up of custom and self-build housing

An independent review of the custom and self-build sector has recommended a major scaling-up of self-built homes to boost the overall housing supply.

Richard Bacon MP’s report was commissioned by the Prime Minister to improve the housebuilding industry by giving customers more choice, and to make home building a mainstream, realistic and affordable option for people across the country.

The review found huge potential in the sector, which could deliver 30,000 to 40,000 more homes every year.

It puts forward six recommendations:

  • launch a new custom and self-build housing delivery unit within Homes England to support the creation of serviced plots on small and large sites and delivery at scale
  • raise awareness and show by ‘doing’ with a custom and self-build ‘Show Park’ and a more robust approach to legislation
  • reignite the Community Housing Fund and create more opportunities for communities to build
  • promote greener homes and increased use of MMC 
  • support custom and self-build housebuilding through planning reforms, in particular through maximising opportunities for permissioned land for custom and self-build across all tenures
  • iron out tax issues to create a level playing field between this type of homes and speculatively built homes

“We need to build more and better new homes; custom and self-build can help achieve this, by putting customers and their choices back at the heart of the process,” said Bacon. 

“When customers come first, we will see more homes built  that are better designed, better built, greener and which cost less to run and which are warmly welcomed by their communities. 

“This review sets out a route map for how we can achieve this much-needed change.”

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “I warmly welcome Richard Bacon’s report which matches our ambitions for the custom and self-build sector. 

“As we build back better, we want to help more people build their own home, making it an option for thousands who’ve not considered it or ruled it out before. 

“This will help get more people on to the housing ladder and ensure homes suit people’s needs, while providing an important boost to small builders and businesses too.”

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will publish more detail on Help to Build shortly followed by its official response to the Bacon Review in the autumn, including reviewing options on how best to support custom and self-build housebuilding.

“The launch of the Help to Build equity loan scheme will be a game-changer to the custom and self-build market and will allow individuals to borrow with lower deposit mortgages which will go towards the design and build of their new home,” Jenrick added.

Raymond Connor, CEO at BuildLoan, also welcomed the review, stating that it is a major step forward in accelerating the custom and self-build sector.

“Importantly, the report recognises the need for more lending capacity going forward to finance what it sees as a great opportunity for truly customisable homes to come to the fore,” he added.

“BuildLoan has seen a rise in lender interest in the custom and self-build market and expects to bring new products from additional lenders to market later this year.”

Brian Berry, chief executive at the FMB, commented: “I congratulate Richard Bacon on his review of Custom and Self Build, and urge the Government to act on his recommendations if we are to diversify the housing market and meet our housing targets. 

“We must reverse the decline in SME housebuilders, who deliver great, high-quality homes in the places people want to live.”

“56% of FMB housebuilder members build only as contractors, and the majority build to the designs and specifications of a consumer. 

“The biggest constraint they face is access to viable small sites on which to build, so I welcome the review’s focus on the supply of land, and hope the government will recognise the support that local authorities need to help more SMEs to build.”

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