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Self-build could be the next big thing


Have you ever thought about building instead of buying your next home? No? Why on earth not?

Forget the reports about the rise of the private rented sector, it’s self-build that is going to be the next big thing if housing minister Grant Shapps has his way.

You may remember that at the beginning of the year, Shapps announced he would be making self-build more accessible to the masses. Six months and a number of working groups later we are beginning to see this work come to fruition.

I have been chairing one of these working groups to look at finance for self-build properties and have been heartened by the willingness of building societies to share their experience of lending in this area.

There is much misinformation and dogma surrounding self-build, some of it due to television programmes that portray it as a way for the privileged few to pass the time and spend some money.

In reality self-build can be many things to many people barn conversions or new-build, architect-designed to kit house. There is a model to suit most people.
Shapps recently wrote to lenders encouraging them to offer more mortgages to those who wish to build their own homes.

I believe lenders will look into whether self-build can be a sensible business opportunity for them. If there is sustained demand I’m sure the finance will follow.


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  • neil brown 19th July 2011 at 8:45 am

    Joining together with others into a self build community to buy land and collaborate on a build makes sense by giving access to multiple plots and economies of scale. We have tried this at Hastings with the Ramparts and mortgage lenders dont seem to be able to accomodate group lending until the stage that individual titles can be created for each house.This, despite the fact that the land is purchased already and loan to value is only 50%. So there is also a need for lenders to adapt and come up with a solution to assist group builds.

  • Pete Ure 28th June 2011 at 8:38 am

    Access to finance is one, crucial aspect. Just as important is the planning process and gaining access to potential sites.
    There have been a number of noises in the right direction and the next few months should tell if there is substance behind that noise.