A key role for regional builders in meeting housing need, says Shelter and reported in the EADT on 8th September 2016
Hopkins Homes’ executive chairman, James Hopkins, has welcomed a new report, commissioned by housing charity Shelter, which outlines that the government will be 266,000 homes shy of their one million homes by 2020 target, and suggests that regional house builders, like Hopkins Homes, could play a significant role in helping to prevent this.
The report’s projections warn of an 8% fall in house building over the next year, as post-Referendum uncertainty discourages big house builders. As a result, if the current trajectory continues, by 2020 we still will not be building as many homes as before the 2008 crash.
However, the Housing Report by Shelter outlines how, through key reforms to the house building market, it is possible for the government to meet their target of a million homes by 2020. The report crucially states that the government mustn’t repeat the mistakes of the last house building slump after 2008 which saw smaller, regional, house builders, forced out of the market.
Learning lessons from 2008 onward, Shelter is calling on the government to take advantage of historically low interest rates and create a ‘Growing Britain Fund’ to invest in new homes and infrastructure. With bigger house builders agreeing that they can’t meet the government’s targets alone, this includes unlocking the potential of smaller construction firms through a ‘Help to Build’ package. This would support them to get hold of land, including from the public sector.
Hopkins Homes’ executive chairman sets out why he believes the government should listen to Shelter’s recommendations. James Hopkins said:
“It is no surprise, I am afraid, to learn that the government is likely to miss its target of one million new homes built by 2020.
“This target was put in place in response to the very real issue of the UK’s housing crisis but, despite everything that has been said about the need to speed up the process of delivery and the latent demand in the market, it still takes too long to deliver new homes in this country. These impact on ordinary families and particularly young people trying to get onto the property ladder and own a home of their own.
“As Shelter outline, we need a new partnership. central and local government have to do more to streamline the planning system. Communities need to recognise the need to build and be more welcoming of new housing developments, and developers need to play their part by committing to high quality design and focusing on building communities, not just houses. As a country we have to invest more in infrastructure to ensure that vital public services can cope with a growing population.
“The Shelter report is right to highlight the vital role that regional house-builders have to play in this delivery partnership. For too long the country has relied on the large national house-builders to meet this demand but there is perhaps very little more that they can do as they are already building the vast majority of the houses in the country.
“Therefore it is essential that small house builders become medium-sized and medium house builders become bigger to plug this gap. Four years ago the Hopkins Homes Group was building around 250 homes, now we are building more than 1000 in the eastern region.
“We are very proud to be delivering new houses as fast as possible, but without compromising on design standards. Quality remains our watch-word. This year we hope to build over 1,000 new homes and to create successful, locally sympathetic communities throughout East Anglia. It is our in depth knowledge and experience of the locality that are key to us achieving this.
“As a regional business, we can fully understand and appreciate the pressures on local community infrastructure and the aims and challenges facing local councils. Using this knowledge we can identify and seek to mitigate concerns within our area allowing us to create self-sustaining, lasting communities.”