Minister advocates ‘building-it-yourself’

Mortgage providers should lend more money to people who want to build their homes to stimulate a self-build movement in the UK, a Government Minister said today.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps says people in the UK already build more houses themselves than any one house builder, but that the industry is still much smaller than almost anywhere else in Europe.

Mr Shapps said this was something the Government wants to change and along with the image of the self-build market, seen in many circles as an option only available for the wealthy.

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He said: “I want to create a self-build revolution where building your own home is not just the preserve of the privileged few and as the mortgage market continues its recovery, lenders have the ideal opportunity to diversify lending into areas such as this.”

Last month, the Government launched an initiative to help reduce the barriers faced by prospective builders such as regulation, the lack of access to land and development finance.

However, Ministers say lenders also often shy away from such schemes because of the perceived higher exposure to risk.

Mr Shapps said that in reality the majority of projects are not “DIY builds”, but involve professional builders, architects and project managers.

Interest in self-build homes has picked up since the start of the year, with the first quarter seeing a 30 per cent increase in mortgage offers, according to BuildStore.

The company’s chief executive Raymond Connor said the self-build market can offer high quality lending in a market currently worth £2bn annually.

“As well as enabling more people to build the homes they want and need, funding the self-build sector also helps to boost local economies and supports the construction supply chain,” he said.

Martin Bell, of Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, added: “While many may think a self-build project is beyond them, it is likely to be much cheaper than buying an existing property.”