By Martin Williamson, Head of Residential Property, Latimer Hinks Solicitors www.latimerhinks.co.uk.
Once viewed as the preserve of the wealthy, building your own home is now a feasible and, very often, much more affordable means of owning a home. Indeed, if statements from Housing Minister Grant Shapps are anything to go by, we could soon be witnessing something of a self-build boom.
Seeking to address the UKs much-publicised shortage in housing, the Government has made it clear that it would like to encourage more people to consider building their own home and a new package of support could well foster that desire. Housing Minister Grant Schapps is working to identify more land for development and has also tweaked planning regulations to make self-build more straightforward.
A large part of these plans coalesce around the new self-build portal, www.selfbuildportal.org.uk, which aims to guide anyone who is considering setting out on the self-build journey through correct procedure as well as outlining the possible pitfalls.
An influential all-party committee of MPs met recently to discuss and plan ways of making self-build a more feasible and workable option for a broader number of people. In the report published this May, the Communities and Local Government Select Committee gave its full support to self-build as a key means of addressing the housing shortfall in the UK.
The committee recommended that Government, local authorities and lenders should all play a part in helping to realise self-build dreams and that a self-build pilot should be set up as soon as possible. The Government is naturally keen to emphasize the undoubted benefits in terms of the national and local economies that self-build brings. Local builders and associated businesses could also experience something of a boom in trade as a result of the expected demand.
Although lenders view self-build mortgages as being inherently more risky than conventional home loans, financing is one of the areas under review with the National Self Build Association (NSBA) predicting a 141 per cent rise in mortgage availability for self-builders over the next three years.
Affordability is one of the key selling points for self-builders. The NSBA say that a three-bedroom home can be purchased on a budget of £150,000 while the typical already-constructed home will set buyers back £232,000. VAT can also be claimed back on most of the materials purchased for the self-build project. Finally, a major saving comes from the fact that buyers only need to pay stamp duty on the cost of the land, not on the propertys final value.
Martin Williamson is Head of Residential Property at Latimer Hinks Solicitors in Darlington. Latimer Hinks has a team of around 50 people serving private and corporate clients. For further information: www.latimerhinks.co.uk or call 01325 341500.