News Brits Keen Self Build If Barriers Are Demolished

Britons are keen to construct their own homes – but they want more done to remove the barriers to becoming self-builders.

A survey of 2,051 people for the Building Societies Association found that 53% would consider creating their own abode either directly or by employing architects and contractors.

Of these, 53% said the main attraction was the ability to control design and layout. Another 43% said they would be attracted by self-build being cheaper than buying on the open market.

However, 40% were concerned that such a project would become too expensive, while 39% were worried about getting planning permission and 38% thought there could be a shortage of available land.

Alongside these concerns, 34% said they would not know where to start and one in three felt they lacked the expertise to do the job. A further 30% thought there could be potential difficulties in securing a mortgage.

However, the BSA said that while it was “almost impossible” to get a self-build mortgage ten years ago, there are now more than 20 building societies that either offer a specific self-build loan or will consider financing such a project.

Speaking at a recent event in Birmingham, Kevin McCloud, presenter of Channel 4’s Grand Designs, called for a wider push to encourage self-build projects.

“Times are hard and the looming difficulties of finance, land and the loneliness of the long-distance self-builder put most people off,” he said.

“Helping people over the hurdles will need a concerted effort by local authority planning departments, developers, housing associations and mortgage companies – but the signs are there that we could see a lot more assisted self-build and community self-build in the UK.”

Earlier this year, housing minister Grant Shapps launched a working group led by the National Self-Build Association to generate new ideas from industry and Government on how to remove the barriers to self-build projects.

He has also called on lenders to develop more specialist finance products to support a “self-build revolution”, adding that the UK currently has one of the smallest proportions of self-builders in Europe.

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