Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, delivered his annual Spring Statement on 13th March 2019 and, although many of the subjects were dominated by issues surrounding Brexit, there were some key takeaways for builders, developers and landowners. In this blog, we take a look at some of the issues set to affect the UK housing market in the upcoming year.
£3bn to build new homes
The government has committed to fixing the ‘broken housing market’ and the Spring Statement addressed its continued work towards meeting its target to build 300,000 new homes a year. £3 billion of borrowing will be allocated to housing associations to develop new homes through the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme.
A number of other housebuilding schemes were also revealed in the statement. £717 million, from the £5.5 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund, will be allocated to building 37,000 new homes at sites, including Old Oak Common in London, the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, and Cheshire.
According to the Chancellor, these new homes will put the UK on track to reach its new homes target by the mid 2020s and will also raise the housing supply to its highest levels since the 1970s by the end of the government’s current term.
Cleaner New Homes
The government will introduce a Future Homes Standard by 2025, to help make homes more environmentally friendly. Under the scheme all new-build homes will have low-carbon heating and be equipped with infrastructure to make them energy efficient.
New planning guidelines
The Chancellor announced the introduction of new planning guidelines to support building more diverse housing on larger developments, as well as the publication of a green paper detailing improvements to help accelerate the planning process. A number of other reforms were also included in the Spring Statement, including new permissions for developers to extend buildings upwards to create new homes.
Support for developing smaller sites
The scheme announced in the Autumn budget last year, to support smaller housebuilders, was also re-addressed in the Spring Statement. The government will provide £1 billion of guarantees, through the British Business Bank, to support lending to small and medium-sized building companies. The scheme is set to be launched in April and will support the development of more smaller scale sites to boost the housing supply.