Recent research by the Local Government Association (LGA) points to evidence that 1 in 10 new home buyers are dissatisfied with new build home quality, with one in six saying they would not recommend their house builder to a friend.
This lack of confidence is even more worrying, as the LGA says that, at the current rate of building, today’s homes will need to last for much longer, up to 2,ooo years.
It found that the country spends nearly as much on the repair and maintenance of existing homes as it does building new ones.
It also found that most local areas have more homes built before the 1930s than from any other period of time, demonstrating the age of our housing stock.
This is a sorry indictement of house building over the last 80 years, while the population has been booming. In this same period, the Office of National Statistics lists the population of England alone as growing roughly 20 million.
The Local Government Association used the findings to back a call for a renaissance in Government-supported council-led building.
This should be housing that focusses on quality of build and additionality. Quality is vital, it reports, if the houses are to meet the challenge of lasting as long as the LGA’s predictions, as well as contributing to the housing crisis.
The key to doing this, it states, is for councils to be able to borrow to build, and keep 100% of the receipts of homes for reinvestment in housing.
“Everyone deserves an affordable and decent place to live. It’s crucial that all new and existing homes are up to a decent standard.
“Councils need to be able to ensure quality through the plannig system, and to encourage high standards in rented and owned properties across the board,” said Cllr Judith Blake, LGA Housing spokesperson.
More and more emphasis is being put on councils as builders, something I’ve blogged about before. But it’s imperative that the opportunities that this sea change could bring include custom build as a way of providing diversification in the market.
Not only does it creat a dynamically different impetus in housing, it bolsters local employment and SME activity. But to ensure it happens, it must be included from the get-go to guarantee it’s part of the conversation.