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Land Supply In The Uk
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Much has been made of the various government initiatives to both kick start the UK’s economy and increase demand for housing. Several programmes were introduced in the Budget in April 2013: the Help To Buy Mortgage Guarantee scheme, the Help To Buy Equity Loans scheme and the Build To Let scheme.
According to Kieran McLaughlin, a Director of Jones Lang LaSalle, together with a significant uplift in mortgage approvals – up 25% since January – and the re-emergence of the 95% mortgages from providers like Halifax, these initiatives have boosted market confidence. Indeed the share prices of the main house building PLCs have increased by 50% on average since the beginning of the year.
There are concerns however that all this demand side activity will do little more than create another housing bubble unless there is also an increase in supply.
Planning Minister Nick Boles seems to understand this predicament and is looking at ways to improve the supply of land and housing to try to meet an ever-increasing shortfall. Whilst Government figures suggest that England needs to build 232,000 new homes a year to keep pace with demand, in 2012 only 115,000 completions were recorded.
Mr Boles has previously suggested that it might be necessary to build on green belt land. He has however also stated the importance of good design. In an address to the National Housing Building Council in June 2013, he said that high quality, appropriate design would make it more likely that planning approval would be granted. And in August he suggested that empty or boarded up shops on the nation’s high streets could be converted into housing. With an estimated 14 per cent of high street shops now unoccupied or boarded up, and with the growth of both out of town malls and Internet shopping, this is an idea worthy of serious consideration. It seems evident that if we are unable to improve the supply of housing, then house prices will continue to rise.
At Lucent we fully support Mr Boles’ views as to the importance of design. This is why we have worked with urban planners, Allies and Morrison to develop the plans for our Lincolnshire Lakes Development. And this is why we are also working with several other leading companies to ensure that the development is of the highest quality in terms of ecological mitigation, leisure and recreational facilities and infrastructure improvements.
We are also looking at urban sites such as in Southampton where our cutting edge design will transform the Royal Pier Waterfront site into a must-visit mixed-use destination. In addition we are working with other councils across England to find innovative ways to bring land forward for develop to the benefit of all parties involved. Wherever we work, we are committed to creating sustainable communities in which people wish to live.
And we will continue to play our part as strategic land specialists in supplying consented land to those who are hungry to build homes to meet the demand for housing in the UK as well as providing an outstanding capital growth opportunity for those wanting to get involved in alternative investments.
~ Anthony Brindley, Lucent Group UK ~
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