Tuesday, 20 November 2012

3806 Homes Waiting To Be Built In Reading

Badly Needed New Homes Waiting To Be Built
As at 31 March 2012 there were 3,806 new housing units - "homes" - with planning permission in Reading, but not yet built.

Now while we know that some of these are on large active sites, such as Kennet Island or Dee Park, many seem stuck in the current malaise affecting the UK housing market.

This could be summarised as a lack of available credit for first-time buyers and those wishing to move the housing ladder, with bank and other lenders demanding huge deposits and high interest rates for those lucky few they deem worthy of a mortgage.

Nationally housebuilder Bovis is sitting on at least three years of plots. At current house buying activity levels, it may have more than five years' worth of plots for its mix of three to five bedroom family homes. They are not facing planning delays because they are all parcels of land with planning consent.

Other housebuilders are in the same position. They have bought plots in the aftermath of the crash and are only slowly releasing them for building as demand allows. Barratt Developments said lack of mortgage lending was holding back a "sustainable" increase in housebuilding as it reported strong first-half profits

The Bovis chief executive, David Ritchie, is clear. He could build many more homes if banks were willing to grant mortgages to homebuyers who have only small deposits.

So we have plots of land with planning permissions for new housing already granted, people in need of decent, affordable housing, unemployed building workers, and service industry businesses closing.

However, to get things started, there is no question where the barrier lies. Planning is a red herring. Credit, or the lack of it, stands in the way of demand and new housebuilding.

And yet what is the Coalition Government's response to all this? Cameron announces an end to the right of residents to challenge planning decisions!

Talk about looking at something through the wrong end of the telescope. You really couldn't make it up!

(Note: 3,806 new homes is roughly the size of the "old Redlands" area around the university.)


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