Need For Improved Housing Provision In 2024

Issue 99

Kevan Carrick of JK Property Consultants says that if the North East is to achieve its economic growth target and increase jobs, the provision of all types of housing is important, so growth is not frustrated.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, has announced plans to ‘supercharge’ development across the UK, as part of the recently unveiled National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

There is an acknowledged need, for over a decade, for 300,000 houses to be built each year, yet successive governments have failed to meet this target.

Change is certainly needed.

I have dealt and am still dealing with disputes between landowners and house builders on land price.

The challenge arises from the wording of the option agreements entered several years prior to allow the housing developer to secure planning consent. The delay is mainly because of the complexity of securing planning consent. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors will be publishing, for consultation, a draft guide on the formation of heads of terms for such development agreements.

The introduction of the Regeneration Act 2023 and the update of the National Planning Framework, have set policies aimed at reforming the delivery of planning consents. The challenges remain the need to resource the planning service at councils, increasing costs for housing construction through inflation, higher standards for construction and sustainability and the requirement to pay for infrastructure, social need such as schools and community health provision and the environmental costs of dealing with the treatment, where there are high levels of phosphates and other agriculture fertilisers.

Part of the challenge is the present unstable housing market. Prices and rents are increasing. The challenge is predicated by a continued undersupply of houses. An example is the recent increase in mortgage and rent for the occupier, in some cases £400 to £500 per month. This fuels demand for higher pay at a time of austerity where businesses are hard pressed to agree. This is forecast to be ameliorated by lower interest rates as forecast by Capital Economics: “Lower interest rates pave the way for a stronger 2024”.

The answer lies in the government and local councils meeting a determined target to build more homes of the right type, location and, just as importantly, of the right quality.

This will not be easy. The cost to comply with improved sustainability, increasing construction standards, plus new legislation requiring a greater contribution for infrastructure and increased affordable and social homes, will contribute to higher costs. A tight housing market and finance means lower returns for house builders and land owners.

All will require the effective introduction of planning improvement, partnership working amongst the stakeholders of councils, land owners and house builders to remove litigation from the process and work toward a facilitated process to be quicker and thus at a lower cost to deliver more housing.

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