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Tackling the housing crisis

Date: 16 December 2015

As the housing crisis remains a key challenge for our industry, the Government’s decision to launch its biggest housebuilder programme since the 1970s was a welcome one. 

With 400,000 new homes pledged before the end of the current parliament, and 135,000 of these as part of the Help to Buy scheme, it’s a step in the right direction for tackling the shortage of affordable homes.

As the housing crisis remains a key challenge for our industry, the Government’s decision to launch its biggest housebuilder programme since the 1970s was a welcome one. With 400,000 new homes pledged before the end of the current parliament, and 135,000 of these as part of the Help to Buy scheme, it’s a step in the right direction for tackling the shortage of affordable homes. 

However, there has been criticism that this level of housebuilding still isn’t sufficient to tackle the crisis. 200,000 of the new homes announced in the Autumn Statement were pledged as part of the pre-election starter homes promise. Furthermore, Dame Kate Barker reacted to the Autumn Statement by suggesting that demand for new homes was closer to 1,000,000 as years of undersupply had accrued a huge deficit. 

Despite the need for new housing, it does seem to suffer from a perception problem.

We conducted research of 2,000 UK adults which demonstrated only 1 in 5 Brits would prefer to buy a new build home, with the majority citing that they believe the homes would be poorly built. This is backed up by a report recently released by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), which revealed that new build homes are falling short of the optional space standards which were introduced in October. Following the report, RIBA is campaigning for a national minimum space standard to be included in Building Regulations. 

I’m sure that many in the industry would challenge this perception, as the work I see produced by housebuilders champions excellence in design and build quality. There is a real focus on using innovative products and design to offer the best quality for homeowners. For example, products from our innovative Rooms Made For You range have been incredibly popular in new build projects, especially Thistle Magnetic Plaster. This can be used to create an interactive magnetic wall in a home, improving design flexibility. These kinds of technical advancements are giving new homes the potential to perform better, be more sustainable and offer a more comfortable living environment than ever before. 

As an industry, we need to do more to promote the fantastic work which is going on in the sector and champion the quality of new build homes. It’s a huge task to meet the demand for new homes, but also to promote the high standards and excellent practices which are common place among housebuilders.  

Sarah White, Residential Market Manager at British Gypsum 

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Tackling the housing crisis