Assetz Capital chief Stuart Law has urged the government to lower costs placed on UK housebuilders, while reducing barriers to planning and increasing access to funding.
The peer-to-peer lending boss said support for small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) housebuilders was “essential” to supporting a fair housing market where consumers across the board can afford housing.
The last few months have seen prices forced upwards and out of reach for many buyers, due to low supply and now rising household costs, he said.
Rising costs of energy, supply chain issues and labour shortages, in tandem with a “burdensome planning system” rendered the current environment difficult for housebuilders to navigate, he explained, adding this was particularly the case for SME housebuilders.
A record number of SME housebuilders have failed during the past year.
His comments came in response to the latest Halifax House Price Index (HPI) published today (5 August).
Despite challenging economic conditions, demand in the housing market broadly matched supply in July, the survey showed, though shortages remain a chronic issue.
House prices fell by 0.1 per cent in July, the first drop since June 2021, while the annual rate of growth eased to 11.8 per cent, from 12.5 per cent the month prior.
According to head of real estate at Shawbrook, Emma Cox, the market is likely to “experience a cooling in the coming months” due to the Bank of England’s recent rate hike. She warned that rates would inevitably slow the number of people looking to buy.
“Mortgage lenders remain committed to offering buyers a range of options to allow them to make their first or next steps on the housing ladder,” she said. “It is important for borrowers to review all the options on offer and consider locking in a fixed deal.”
According to Law, SME housebuilders are well positioned to deliver houses that are environmentally advanced and energy efficient. They also demonstrate expert local knowledge and support local employment.
“This in turn informs how they build in order to enhance and protect the local environment,” he said. “Environmental concerns are a key area of focus for policy and by supporting SMEs, we can protect the housing sector by bringing more environmentally friendly homes to market and ensuring a more balanced rate of house price growth.”