Date Published 11 September 2013
A group of big house builders have told housing minister Mark Prisk that the support measures introduced by the Government are working and will lead directly to more new homes being built.
The new-build industry has so far been the major beneficiary of interventions such as the first phase of the Help to Buy scheme.
So far, there have been 12,500 reservations of new homes under the scheme, with the latest figures going from April 1 to the end of August.
The aim is to deliver 74,000 sales of new-build homes altogether over the three-year life of the scheme.
However, it is the second phase of the scheme – which will apply to existing housing stock as well as new homes when it is introduced in January – that is intended to have a far greater impact.
The Treasury`s working assumption is that this second phase of Help to Buy will generate around 190,000 sales per year, equivalent to one fifth of annual UK housing transactions.
The developers who met Prisk told him how well the first phase of the mortgage scheme is working, and also discussed what steps could be taken to address the other constraints on supply – the planning system and regulatory costs.
Following the meeting Stewart Baseley, executive chairman of the Home Builders Federation, said: `Help to Buy has been an unqualified success. It is addressing a lack of mortgage availability – the main constraint on the market – and if people can buy, builders can build.`
Mark Clare, chief executive of Barratt, said: `Customer interest in the Help to Buy scheme has been very strong, particularly from customers previously locked out of the market by high deposit requirements.
`Post the Budget announcement we saw reservation rates increase. We are now preparing for further growth and have committed £1bn to land investment for new homes and we`re also expanding the business by taking on 600 new apprentices and graduates to tackle the skills shortage.`
Jeff Fairburn, group chief executive of Persimmon, said: `Since the introduction of the Help to Buy measures in April we`ve seen a notable increase in customer interest and visitors to our sites, resulting in a stronger level of sales reservations across England.
`In response we have increased our build activity to meet this increase in demand.`