The rise in house building completions is helping to tackle the housing crisis, but more work needs to be done if the government is to hit its one million new homes target, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “The latest figures which show that 189,000 additional homes were created in 2015/2016 is positive progress towards solving the housing crisis. However, the total created still falls below the number needed each year to deliver the government’s stated aim of building one million new homes by 2020.
“The current figures also show a strong reliance on the conversion of existing buildings to residential use, which is a trend that can’t be sustained indefinitely. Recent government policies to boost house building are helping, but there is still plenty of room for more radical solutions to meet the one million target.”
Mr Berry concluded: “The government needs to turbo-charge the SME house building sector. Smaller firms, once the main drivers of house building in this country, have become only marginal players in the market, which has hampered the capacity of the industry. The government has already recognised the importance of revitalising SMEs through its attempts to improve the availability of finance for smaller firms, but much more can be done.
“In particular, we need to see a renewed focus on enabling planning permission for more small sites, which are the bread and butter of SME builders. We’re hopeful that the government will listen to the voice of SME builders in its forthcoming Housing White Paper and put measures to enable more small scale development at the heart of the country’s house building strategy.”