Inside HAB: Can anything be done to fix the UK housing market?

Inside HAB: Can anything be done to fix the UK housing market?

Posted 29/08/18

Many are quick to declare that the UK housing market is broken. Unaffordable prices, a lack of new homes, and a bunch of failed Government initiatives have created a hostile environment for buying and selling properties.

At HAB, we don’t claim to have the answer, but we’re doing our best to build as many affordable new homes as possible to combat the crisis. There is a failure, in many of the Government’s initiatives to understand basic market principles. Whilst money is an issue, we’re not here with the sole intention of lining our pockets. We believe it is about supply and demand rather than maximising value by drip-feeding an over-saturated market.

HAB Housing Chairman, Kevin McCloud shared his take on the issue:

“We have got very good at building very badly in the UK – building very cheaply, building small expensive houses because we’ve had to, because of the land values being so high. In Germany, houses are more expensive to build, but they are better built as a result and their values, in the end, are less than they are here, even though they’re bigger.

“It’s been a case of the tail wagging the dog since WW2. And although we’ve had a new planning regime since 2012, we’re still dealing with the hangover of the post-war planning acts in the UK. We haven’t quite expunged them from the system and developers are able to take full advantage of that.”

But it’s not just the market itself that’s an issue. There’s a shortage in skillsets within local authorities and in the construction industry. A lack of resources in the planning office leads to a backlog of applications, which in turn leads to on-site delays. It can seem like an endless cycle.

HAB Housing’s Chief Operating Officer, Dave Gray, believes investment in young people is the solution.

“It’s more than just financial investment that’s needed,” he explained, “but time investment, training, and personal investment and mentorship, as well as looking at ways to deliver new construction methodology."

At HAB we collaborate; we don’t take a confrontational approach. We champion quality, and great architecture and design, and work as a team to make everybody’s jobs easier, resulting in an even better end product. Want to know more? Read our Inside HAB series here.

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Photography used by kind permission of Look Again, Paul Miller,
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