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Leader: Self-build – more than a TV dream

Incredibly, the Channel 4 TV show Grand Designs where people build their own houses has now been going since 1999.

Clearly, people cannot get enough of watching people go through the trials and tribulations of watching someone else put together their ideal home and the show regularly dragging in around four million viewers per episode in the UK.

But unlike other forms of TV property porn, for the vast majority of us it remains an out right fantasy and something which we will never do ourselves.

The number of people actually building their own properties in the UK is low. A report on the self build sector from Lloyds Banking Group in May put the figure at around 12,000 self build homes per year, accounting for just 7.6 per cent of housing supply.

This compares unfavourably to Hungary which has 52 per cent, France on 38 per cent and the Netherlands with 10 per cent.

The UK Government has ambitious targets for the sector and its stated aim is to double the output of self-build housing from 100,000 to 200,000 over the next decade.

It’s also instigated a number of initiatives to jump start the industry, like giving self-build recognition in the planning system for the first time ensuring some publicly owned land is made available for people to build their own home.

Sadly, that seems to have had little impact so far and everything from difficulty getting finance to a general view that it’s something the average person should not be getting involved in seems to be holding the self build market back.

Clearly, work needs to be done to ensure for more people self build is a practical reality rather than just something they indulge in front of the telly.


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