Welsh Government has announced a £160 million loan fund to support small- and medium-sized (SME) builders to unlock stalled sites and build more houses across Wales.
Housing and Regeneration Minister Rebecca Evans made the announcement at the recent SME Builder Breakfast Roadshow, an event showcasing the support on offer to small- and medium-sized building firms in Wales.
The £40m loan fund has a four-year repayment term, and is projected to be recycled four times over seventeen years to create the £160 figure, underlining Welsh Government’s long-term commitment to supporting small and medium-sized builders to deliver homes.
Research in 2015 suggested there were potentially 7,600 homes across 400 sites where work had come to a halt for a wide range of reasons, from pre-development works and economic viability, to challenges in securing affordable funding.
These stalled sites are typically suitable for the SME sector to develop. This funding could offer a route to investment that could support these sites to come back online, providing jobs and housing.
Housing and Regeneration Minister Rebecca Evans said: “The Stalled Sites Fund provides £40m of funding to address this gap in the market and through recycling of this investment will make up to £160m available to SMEs over 17 years to help them build more homes in Wales.
“We know that supporting small and medium-sized builders has a knock-on effect on the local economy, as they in turn use local suppliers to source materials and skills.
“That’s why we are targeting smaller builders at this roadshow in Llanelli. Working with the Federation of Master Builders and local builder’s merchants LBS, we are setting out exactly what help is available to SMEs to grow and develop.
“We are committed to delivering 20,000 affordable homes in Wales during this term of government, and SME builders are key to helping us achieve this. By supporting them to develop more sites, we won’t just be supporting them to increase the supply of housing, but to grow their businesses, support more skilled jobs and contribute to the local economy.
“We know that many SMEs moved away from house building following the recession ten years ago and have not returned to development. I believe this fund can help them to do this, ensuring a diverse housing sector and more homes being built.”
Photo credit: RonnyK/Pixabay
Wales doesn’t have the best record with custom build or owner-commissioned housing, although it was referenced in the draft Welsh Planning Policy (Edition 10). But this is good news, as a route to newly invigorated sites for SME builders, which could easily accommodate custom build.