£5 million pledged for self-builders

Brian Kilroy, Business Development Manager, BLP Insurance, welcomes the Mayor of London’s announcement to pledge £5 million of funding for self-builders’ construction costs in London and says that local authorities need to lend a helping hand:

“The whole industry – builders, tradesmen, materials manufacturers and suppliers – should be grabbing the horns of this and getting behind it as an initiative to bolster much-needed growth across the whole construction industry. If managed well, it could go a long way to helping the sector get moving again.

“We applaud any initiative that makes it easier for aspiring self-home builders to fulfil their ambitions. The recession put many people off making such a large investment of time and money in their home and with many lenders shying away from the self-build market access to funding was hard to come by. However, on its own, a £5 million pledge is not enough and more needs to be done by the wider lending community to help fund and drive this critical sector bus also by Local Authorities, who hold the planning strings, to make sure self-builders get the support they need to contribute to the housebuilding market.

“This additional funding should give aspiring self-builders a foot on the ladder and help those who would otherwise struggle to save for a deposit as well as affording construction costs. It is a step in the right direction and if it takes off, we would like to see more funding pledged across the country to allow others access.

Local authorities need to lend a helping hand

“Local Authorities now have a duty to step up their game and if they play it right, they can use it as an effective strategy to help hit their housing targets. We’ve seen some movement in the Private Rented Sector, but Local Authorities also need to recognise private developers and the burgeoning self-build and custom build markets.

“Self-build has gained more government support in the last year and local authorities have started to get behind the market by relaxing planning rules and regulations to some degree. This is a good start, but we desperately need measures that are more tangible to help us to see more projects coming to fruition.

“Building your own home is a big project to undertake but the rewards can greatly outweigh the hoops that homeowners need to jump through to make it happen. Self-building provides the opportunity to build the perfect home to suit your lifestyle and put your own stamp on something and help is at hand to guide you through the process.”

A recent survey conducted by BLP Insurance found that 55% of homeowners would be keen to undertake a self-build project, a five per cent increase since 2013. Fifty-seven per cent of those homeowners who would consider building their own home blamed lack of available funding as the biggest thing stopping them from getting started.