BSRIA has welcomed government plans to launch a multi-billion pound funding package aimed at tackling the housing crisis.
The fund, which will be administered through the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), will offer loans to developers across the residential sector, including the PRS (private rented sector), and will be aimed primarily at SMEs and developers using modular construction.
Government is currently considering whether to launch a fresh fund or increase the £3bn Home Building Fund announced by then chancellor George Osborne in the Budget in March and confirmed in the Queen’s Speech – to £5bn. The fund is intended to support the construction of between 160,000 and 200,000 homes.
The aim was to boost the numbers of homes of all occupation types, including starter homes, intermediate rent and market rent.
Full details of the new housing package are expected to be announced in the Autumn Statement. The Department for Communities and Local Government said that it had already committed to a fund and further details will be announced in due course.
Small housebuilders are currently struggling to raise finance for development from the mainstream high street banks and are instead turning to challenger banks in order to fund their schemes.
The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is working with the HCA to thrash out the details of the new scheme. While large housebuilders would not be excluded from the funding scheme, they were less likely to need significant government backing.
Chris Knights, General Manager, BSRIA Compliance, said: “Any incentive which continues to boost housebuilding is welcomed by BSRIA. The country is crying out for more houses – in all shapes and forms.
The fund marks a shift in the government’s stance to expansion in that government is now keen to take on more financial risk to challenge the housing crisis than ever.
Off-site construction has moved to the top of the government’s schedule next to PRS since the EU referendum, as ministers have pursued ways to address the ever-snowballing gap between housing supply and demand.
But we must not lose sight of the fact that house building volume cannot be at the expense of quality.”