We have a major problem in our country in that houses are becoming more and more unaffordable for the vast majority of people.
There is a simple reason for this: supply and demand and the cost of land
When a developer buys a piece of land without planning – they are taking a massive risk – as it may be years before they can get planning (if at all). There is talk of neighbours being allowed to appeal – which would add further to time and therefore risk. This means that the value of land with planning is worth massively more than the value of land without (more than double). The result? the cost of houses has to go up to cover the increased cost of land and risk. Or as happens with the major housebuilders worried about affordability, the quality of the build and/or the size of the house has to come down.
On top of this, we need approx 240,000 homes per year to be built to satisfy demand but in fact we built about 100,000 last year. With demand going up and supply not matching that demand – prices go up even for the typically low quality tiny new build offering that does get built. This in turn increases the cost of the second hand stock.
Rather than waiting for developers to build us our low quality small new houses, why don't we build more homes ourselves? because we can't afford the price of a piece of land with planning and we can't afford to take the risk of buying a piece of land that won't get planning for a long time.
In Germany, they have a self build market of approximately 270,000 new homes per year – we are closer to 10,000. What is the rate of inflation of houses in Germany? approximately 1-2% per year – more sustainable and more affordable.
How do they do it? By zoning. A village or town can designate areas where buildings of say 2 storeys or 3 storeys can be built – the planning is guaranteed so therefore there is no massive premium.
future homeowners can go to a 'home showground' pick their choice and get it built.