Plans to Double Annual House Builds in London
Nov 17, 2017
As we are approaching the end of 2017 we thought we’d look ahead to 2018 and what it has in store. These are exciting times for the construction industry, with plans to double the annual house builds in London to 66,000 in a year.
With UK house prices rocketing (particularly in the capital) and the population ever increasing, there is an undeniable long-term need for housing and more of it. Not only is there a need for more housing but also more affordable options. With the average London home costing around £580,000, it’s important that new builds cater for the majority rather than the elite minority. Whilst luxury accommodation will continue to be a profitable avenue and in high demand, basic affordable housing will also be a principle focus in London’s development moving forward.
With housing prices heavily dependent on location, there is going to be greater focus on the outskirts of London, with more developments in smaller, suburban town centres.
So what’s the plan?
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan is behind the push for affordable housing, in an effort to address the housing crisis.
On the 6th September, Sadiq Khan announced his plans for City Hall to utilise £250 million for buying and preparing land for these new developments. The intention is that this investment will be recycled, funding the purchase of further land and home builds. The Mayor’s plan doesn’t only focus on buyers but also renters, calling on the government, as well as London’s private tenants and landlords to help resolve the current extortionate renting system.
The number of Londoners that are private renting has increased by more than 200% in the last eight years (Source: london.gov) resulting in more and more tenants paying beyond their means and decent landlords losing business to landlords that are operating inefficiently and irresponsibly. The private renting sector is in urgent need of regulation, affordable options, as well as enforced standards and procedures for landlords.
“It is shameful that a generation of young people are being priced out of the city they grew up in because of the housing crisis. I inherited a development pipeline where just 13 per cent of homes given planning permission were affordable, which is unacceptable. I’ve been honest from the start that turning things round will take time and fixing the housing crisis will be a marathon not a sprint, but my strategy sets out how we can start making a real difference to affordable housing in the city.”
– Sadiq Khan
“The London Housing Strategy marks an important step in the long journey towards solving the capital’s housing crisis. Central government, the Mayor and the boroughs all have a part to play in ensuring we better meet the housing needs of all Londoners, making it possible for London to grow economically and continue to be a great place to live.”
– Mayor Sir Steve Bullock, London Councils’ Executive member for housing
With the ‘London property bubble bursting’ (Source: The Independent) this year and the housing market in the rest of the country on the rise, there needs to be a focus on accommodating Londoners. Housing prices in London exceed the reach of the majority’s average incomes, resulting in ‘generation rent’.
The thirty-somethings are a generation of renters, living in a financially draining cycle that prohibits them from saving enough money to enter the housing market. In recognition of this, multiple schemes have been set up to make the housing market more accessible to ‘generation rent’, with a government housing fund and saving schemes such as Barclay’s Help to Buy ISA. Whilst these are all important steps to restabilising the UK property market, it doesn’t address the impending crisis of over-population. With the UK population at more than 60 million people, and the London population at almost 8 million, predicted to rise to nearly 10 million by 2024 (Source: The Independent), we don’t have enough housing to accommodate all of these bodies.
“Community-led housing offers the chance to build new homes Londoners that want to live in. Londoners should be able to play a leading role in building their own communities, but for too long this has been difficult and they have had no support or access to funding.”
– Sadiq Khan
This concept of building ‘skeleton’ homes that provide basic essentials, is a great way to give buyers a more affordable option. Essentially, it’s providing the buyer with a blank canvas that they can decorate exactly to their tastes, in accordance with their budget and at their own pace. This also means that all of these new homes will have their own identity and style.
What does this mean for the construction industry and workers?
With real focus on developing a more “dynamic building industry” and understanding the diverse range of builders and companies needed for these projects, there is going to be plenty of work to go around, and not just for the large construction companies but also the smaller specialist companies.
Not only will there be plenty of opportunity for new business, there will also be more opportunities for young people to learn practical construction and building skills. A key part of the Mayor’s plan is to encourage more young people to join the construction industry, safeguarding Britain’s housing future.
With so many pessimistic articles in the news recently, questioning the future of Britain’s construction industry in a post-Brexit Britain, this new plan comes as welcome news. With the population ever-growing, new housing is always going to be in demand. What we need to focus on now, is how to develop a strong, sustainable future, combining the skills of Britain’s existing construction specialists as well as preparing the next generation of builders.
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