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Following the news that the Help to Build equity loan scheme has opened, making custom and self build accessible to more people, The National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) has welcomed the opening of the Help to Build equity loan scheme to applications, which will help more people with smaller deposits access an owner commissioned home.

As the Prime Minister stated last year:

“We know that self and custom build delivers high-quality, well-designed homes, that are energy efficient, accessible, affordable and welcomed by their communities”.

National Landlord Investment Show – MPU

Yet despite these benefits the sector was largely unable to use the Help to Buy scheme that made it easier and cheaper to access the new homes market.

Help to Build is the answer.

Based on proposals developed by NaCSBA, the scheme empowers and enables many more people to build the homes that they want to live in, and not be forced to purchase a new home that someone else has decided they will like.

Why is Help to Build so important?

The scheme is needed because the custom and self build market is largely served by a network of smaller lenders, mainly building societies, whose capacity to support the sector – and in particular those with smaller deposits – is constrained by the financial rules that they must work within.

Customer choice is key as, with any market, it leads to both better choice and better value.

But it is much more than that, as Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, NaCSBA CEO points out:

“Our home can protect us, it can inspire us, and it can sustain us and our community. It can make us healthier and fitter – mentally and physically, and it can enable us to live better lives.”

NaCSBA believes that our full range of needs and desires can only be met when we have greater choice over the design and specification of our home – just as happens in every other country in the world. The UK is unique in the lack of choice that exists, and the results of that failure are clear to see.

Research from NaCSBA’s recent Custom and Self Build Market Report showed that, when given more choice, self builders build better and greener homes than those on the open market, with over half choosing a sustainable heating source and choosing to build with highly-efficient Modern Methods of Construction.

“Help to Build is important because it opens up custom and self-build as an option to those with smaller budgets and in particular smaller savings.

Access to finance is just part of the answer.

The key constraint is access to land with permission to build. This challenge is being addressed in part through the Right to Build legislation, which requires local authorities to ensure enough plots are permissioned to match the demand on the registers that they operate.

However, some local authorities have been too slow to respond to the legislation, and it is important that they do more, not least to respond to the increased demand following the launch of this scheme.

This is why the government’s response to the Bacon Review, also published today, and the ongoing funding to the Right to Build Task force are important pieces in a wider plan,” says Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, NaCSBA CEO.

We warmly welcome this first tranche of funding into Help to Build.

Given that the Help to Build scheme is our alternative to Help to Buy, our expectation is that our sector will get the same decadelong funding that Help to Buy received.

This would help enable local authorities to bring forward plots to meet demand and the sector to continue to develop the best possible products for this section of the market.

Help to Build represents an opportunity for growth, and NaCSBA is encouraging the sector to ensure that the fullest possible ranges of options to custom and self-build exists.

This includes, for example, the building of custom and self build flats and apartments, and the conversion and renovation of existing buildings.

As Richard Bacon MP said in his Review of Custom and Self Build:

“When we have fully opened up the housing market and the planning process to the power of consumer choice, we will see more great places being developed which are warmly welcomed by their communities, with beautiful and more spacious houses, at keener prices – and that are better designed, better built, greener and which cost less to run, which enrich the lives of the people who live there – while driving innovation and inward investment.

And when afterwards we have done this, we will look back and wonder why it took us so long.”

Right to Build Task Force funding

As part of the wider announcements of Help to Build and the Bacon Review response, government has also chosen to finance the Right to Build Task Force to support its work for a further three years.

This finance is crucial in supporting the Task Force with its work of educating the sector about models, policy and practice, with its focus on local authority housing and planning teams, together with elected members.

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