Government Stepping up its 'self-build revolution'

Thursday, 12 June 2014

The housing market might be booming at the moment, but according to the latest figures, the number of Brits choosing to build their own properties has fallen by more than a fifth since 2010.

According to Hilary Benn, the shadow communities secretary, the number of self-built homes has been falling consistently since David Cameron became Prime Minister: from 10,588 homes in 2010 to 8,253 in 2013. This is upsetting news for the coalition, who have been championing the idea of a ‘self-build revolution’ since 2011.

At the time, Grant Shapps, the Tory chairman, boasted that self-built properties would double under the coalition. Kevin McCloud, the presenter of Grand Designs, even came on board in 2012 as the governments own ‘self-build tsar’. The government has also attempted to remove barriers to building, by offering grants and tax discounts to self-builders.

Not one to be deterred, the government is now ready to inject more fire into the revolution, namely by expanding the Right to Build scheme. Industry critics have compared it to Thatcher’s Right to Buy scheme, which gave social tenants the opportunity to buy their properties from the council at a massive discount. The scheme will give people who have lived in an area for three years or more the right to buy vacant land from their local authority.

Building your own property doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of money on a ‘Grand Design.’ Ted Stevens, the chairman of the National Self Build Association, has stated that “it’s perfectly possible to build a three-bed home for around £150,000.” When you build your own property you also have control over layout and materials. It’s important to use a reputable building firm: this could save you a lot of money on home insurance claims in the long run.

It’s also important to get full planning permission before you build, and keep an eye on the plans. Otherwise you could end up like this unfortunate Scottish family who saw their half million pound dream home demolished due to its size.


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