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Council Monitoring Powers Can Drive Up Build Out Rates

Despite the recent acceleration in construction of homes, received wisdom in the fields of housing, finance and regeneration is that the build out rate of construction firms on permissioned sites reflects the total maximum capacity of the local housing market in which that builder operates, rather than simply the appetite or capacity of that builder together with other factors which may be capable of being addressed in a pragmatic and planned way. The new report from the Housing & Finance Institute – How to Build More Homes Faster, 2016 – looks at practical action which can be taken in order to accelerate housing supply:

‘The received wisdom on speed of delivery on one site in the hands of one developer or the whims of one investor does not reflect the actual market opportunity for homes or the capacity that there would be for other market participants to build, finance and deliver homes in that area more quickly.’

This HFi report shines a light on the barriers to building that have previously been under-discussed. As well as an exploring the roles of utility firms, Local Enterprise Partnerships and national government in delivering homes, the report highlights the powerful, pragmatic part that Councils can play in the accelerating housebuilding in their areas.

The HFi report suggests a strategic renewal of the House Builder/Local Authority relationship – a relationship built on an understanding of the local importance of delivering more homes, faster.

Recommendation (4) of How to Build More Homes, Faster is ‘Monitoring and Driving Up Build Out Rates’. The report shows information could be gathered to ensure Local Authorities and House Builders are monitoring their success in meeting their ambitions for homes:

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‘…The starting point is monitoring the actual and intended build out rates by authority and for larger sites. In the planning system, Councils could place a condition on planning consent based on a minimum level of build out of homes as part of their planning negotiations. Key to this is understanding and not limiting the capacity of the local market to increase and absorb housing activity.’

This recommendation, in hand with HFi’s role as a facilitator of fruitful, cross sector housing relationships could enable simple, practical measures to continue the growth in housing – both starts and completions – to continue and accelerate.

The HFi can help: The HFi can help to assess market potential and strategies to attract new market entrants through our Housing Business Ready programme. Please get in touch with Natalie@thehfi.com or Claire@thehfi.com to discuss how we can work with you to Build More Homes, Faster.