Publisher Lesley Mayo


James Parker

So we have entered a new year which is certain to bring more choppy waters for the industry. UK economic performance and wage growth is suffering, but the industry is now expected to deliver, as I’m sure you’re only too aware, the ‘magic number’ of 300,000 homes a year.

A £44bn housing plan from Government is all very well and good, however they started the year with a botched Cabinet reshuffle, in which one of the few concrete signs of movement was yet another Housing Minister. While the industry could do with a bit of continuity in government to navigate the turbulent seas and open up supply in the next couple of years as Brexit kicks in, we now have Dominic Raab, the 15th Minister in 17 years in the role.

It’s almost as if they don’t quite know what to do about housing delivery. They extend Help to Buy and other levers of the already surging demand in the Autumn, but apart from reviewing planning and providing loans, where is the effort to stimulate supply? To help it be a pluralistic, healthy market that organically reacts to demand, land needs to be given to SME builders to build, but where is this being done?

Homes England, the rebadged Homes and Communities Agency, has now launched, with an avowed role to “secure land in areas where people want to live, support smaller and more innovative house builders into the market and resource brownfield sites from across the country.”


The NFB’s Richard Beresford says it’s time the CITB recognised the value of SME builders



Lewisham Homes gets planning for its first engineered timber scheme in south east London

Patrick Mooney gives a 2018 reality check on the Government’s recent measures for social housing

It, DCLG says, will “develop a new commercial approach to acquiring, preparing, managing and developing land in areas of high demand and strategic importance,” and “by focusing on using both the land and money to support builders of all sizes to increase supply will continue to support accelerated construction on a selection of sites.”

This may sound familiar, but is there perhaps a sense that there will be a renewed sense of purpose to releasing land and finance? Now they just need to do something about the green belt, particularly given that a recent Mori survey found a massive discrepancy between the population’s ideas of how much land is densely built up, and the reality.

The recent PMI survey showed that despite commercial property and infrastructure dropping throughout 2017, housebuilding had seen 16 straight months of increases in output, so something is going right. And although property prices are not rising in many parts of the country, particularly London, over 100,000 homes were sold each month in 2017.

MODA HITS THE GROUND RUNNING Developer to build a 42-storey residential tower in Birmingham with a running track on the

roof as well as retail and managed workspace

Project: 2one2 Broad Street Developer: Moda Architect: Glen Howells go to page 27


As ever recently, the ‘big if’ is Brexit. Is there any indication that the ‘flight of equity’ from the powerhouse of London is going to be stopped in its tracks once we leave the EU? Or will a weak pound attract a different array of foreign investors to the capital, even if most Brits still can’t afford to buy houses there?

James Parker

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