New measures announced by the government to help more people build their own home will increase choice and affordability in the housing market, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

The measures, announced by Communities Minister Don Foster at the Liberal Democrat Conference, are designed to encourage take-up in the self-build sector, and include guidance for planning authorities to better identify local demand for self-build, and a review of small sites held by the Homes and Communities Agency to identify more land suitable for small developments and self-build projects.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “At a time when more and more people are trying to get on to the housing ladder, any attempt to get the self-build market moving is a positive step forward. We know that the self-build sector is an underdeveloped part of the UK housing market, accounting for only around 10% of all new homes, which compares unfavourably with other European countries such as Germany and Ireland, where the figure is 50%, and Austria, where it is as high as 80%.

“The government’s proposed new planning guidance will encourage local authorities to accurately assess the level of demand for self-build in their area, which should in turn lead to local plans making better provision for self-build opportunities, increasing the options available to anyone looking for a new home. Local housebuilders typically champion choice and customer focus, and will be ideally placed deliver the high-quality custom-built homes many people aspire to live in.

“Any exemption from paying the Community Infrastructure Levy needs to apply to all small developments, not just self-build projects, to ensure that large numbers of smaller sites do not become unviable, further weakening local housebuilders and reducing the capacity of the industry to deliver the uplift in new housing that the country as a whole so desperately needs.”