74 per cent of housebuilders think the government’s aim of building a million homes during the current parliament is unachievable – so the latest survey run by the Build Show, as part of UK Construction Week, and Housebuilder magazine reveals.
Targeted solely at housebuilders, the survey has highlighted a number of strong opinions, concerns and predictions held within the industry about the future of this critical sector. Following the question on the government’s targets, housebuilders were asked what they thought were the main constraints to increasing the UK housing supply – the top two answers given were problems with the planning system and the availability of enough skilled labour.
As one of the first canvases of the sector since the EU referendum, the survey has provided a valuable insight into how the industry feels about the affects it might have. Over half of those surveyed said that Brexit would make meeting the UK’s new housing needs more difficult and only 11 per cent saying it would make it easier.
Equally, those surveyed were cynical of government initiatives such as the Starter Home scheme with two thirds saying it will not boost supply or that they’re unsure. Similarly, only 40 per cent believed that government initiatives would increase the number of affordable homes being built.
When asked about the possible solutions to the UK’s housing needs, 64 per cent of housebuilders felt that SMEs were the key. Also identified was offsite construction with over two thirds of respondents saying it would play a major role in new home supply as was new investment models with over 75 per cent highlighting the contribution they could make.
Nathan Garnett, Event Director for the Build Show, commented: “The survey has provided valuable honest insight into the housebuilding sector and clearly indicates that there is a lot of uncertainty. In this regard, the show in October will offer a much needed opportunity to develop strategy and build stronger business relationships with key customers, peers and associations. Excitingly, the sector also sees a lot of potential in SME builders and we do too. There will be a wide variety of content suited to both national and SME housebuilders at the show to help them overcome the hurdles they currently face.”
Some of the other notable findings from the survey include:
- One third of housebuilders believe the government should do more to encourage more people into the industry
- More than 60 per cent of those surveyed do not believe the private sector is capable of building enough homes to tackle the lack of UK supply
- According to housebuilders, access to finance is the biggest barrier for SMEs, followed by the planning system
- Almost two thirds of housebuilders believe that manufacturer innovation will play a key role in new home supply
- When asked what would be the one thing that would help them build more houses, the top five answers from those surveyed were: improvements to the planning system, more investment and access to funding, more skilled labour, increase in land supply and innovation such as offsite construction methods
Taking place at the Birmingham NEC from 18 – 20 October, UK Construction Week combines nine shows in one location. With over 24,000 trade visitors last year – a figure expected to double at this year’s event – the show boasts over 650 exhibitors. Visitors are able to attend Timber Expo, the Build Show, Civils Expo, the Surface and Materials Show, Energy 2016, Plant & Machinery Live, HVAC 2016, Smart Buildings 2016 and Grand Designs Live.