Fintech lenders have called for a shake up of housebuilding and planning laws in the upcoming Autumn budget.
Assetz Capital and Shawbrook Bank have urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to loosen planning laws to allow for more housebuilding activity in order to meet the growing demand for new homes.
“It’s nothing new to say that the UK has a chronic lack of housing,” said John Eastgate, managing director of property finance at Shawbrook Bank.
“The government must make it easier for smaller developers, and individuals, to build on viable land in order to meet current demands.
“A crucial part of this, and what we need to see from the Chancellor, is a commitment to supporting the long overdue changes to the planning process. The property market can have a key role to play in the government’s levelling up agenda, but only if it’s given the right tools to do so.”
Eastgate noted that after being promised the biggest shake up to the property market for a generation, expected changes to the planning process have since been scrapped leaving the door open for a revised approach.
Meanwhile, Stuart Law, chief executive of Assetz Capital, warned that labour and materials shortages will continue have a significant bearing on housing supply, and predicted that this will “drive up house prices consistently over the next year or two.”
He called on the government to make it easier for small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) housebuilders to access the funding that they need to accelerate housebuilding activity.
“Given the current shortfall of appropriate housing stock in the UK at present, as well as recent predictions from Savills that the number of houses being built will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2026 and even then will remain 20 per cent short of government targets, there is a clear opportunity for SME housebuilders to meet consumer demand with their expert local knowledge and rapid adoption of innovative housebuilding processes,” said Law.
“We’ll be paying close attention to the chancellor’s budget next week and hope that improved access to alternative funding for such housebuilders is among the key environment-focused initiatives he is expected to announce given that the banks are pulling back loan support for SMEs at a rate not seen in the last 10 years.”