In the recent Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond, announced the government’s key initiatives for the housing marketing in 2018. With population figures rising, the Government has voiced its intent to increase the number of affordable new homes, being built within the UK to 300,000 per annum. Additionally, a reduction in stamp duty for first time buyers, will provide those who had not previously been in a position to buy, with the opportunity to get onto the property ladder.
At Wellesley, we recognised back in 2016 the need to focus our loan book on supporting developers building homes valued at £300,000 and below. Our strategy has been to support development in UK regions which currently offer a stronger market than London or the South East. Our ongoing analysis of the current property market, ensured that we spotted this emerging demand for more affordable housing in advance of the government’s budget announcement and consequently we are already tackling this challenge.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) report shows that the increasing UK population is largely responsible for the increased demand for housing. In the early 1990’s, the annual birth rate was approximately 750,000 per annum, the death rate around 650,000 per annum and immigration and emigration each at around 300,000 per annum, the UK was experiencing a gradual incline in population. It was during the late 1990’s, that immigration started to rise and since 2004, immigration has risen to 600,000 per annum. Alongside this and the increase in life expectancy, the population has been growing consistently, which has resulted in the increased demand for housing. By 2035, it is forecast that the UK’s population will reach 73 million. Click here to view the ONS’ “Overview of the UK Population Report”.
Hammond’s budget set out the government’s plans to the housing shortage. Statistics from the Department of Communities and Local Government showed that the number of homes being built in the UK has been consistently below what is required to meet the demand. During the 1990’s, just under 200,000 houses were being built each year, and at the very moment that the UK’s population started to rise, the number of homes being built fell to around 150,000 per annum. With demand for housing showing no signs of slowing down, the amplified property markets prices are pushing all age groups (except over 65s) out of the picture, resulting in more people turning to the renting market.
In the 1950’s and 1960’s approximately one half of new houses were built by Local Authorities but today the private sector provides the vast majority of new homes built. The challenge for the Government in encouraging the building of 300,000 new homes each year is discussed in a separate Wellesley Blog by Paul Murphy published on 6th December, he explains how planning restrictions will need to be eased, a skills shortage addressed and incentives increased if the Government is to reach its target. Meanwhile, Wellesley has been working since 2016 to increase the availability of capital to fund quality house builders across the UK to build a greater number of more affordable homes that are now the focus of Government policy.