Budget backs Build to Rent and urban housing schemes

November 22, 2017: The UK government has thrown its support behind urban housing and Build to Rent (BtR) schemes in today’s Budget speech. Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his annual Budget today (November 22) and it contained a swathe of measures aimed at boosting housebuilding in cities across the country.

The moves have been welcomed by National Regional Property Group, which specialises in urban regeneration projects and BtR (Build to Rent) schemes.

Allan Gordon, National Regional Property group’s managing director, said: “We’ve been saying for some time that people are increasingly wanting to live and work in cities. It’s why we’ve been focusing on such schemes in recent years and it’s why developments such as our Bow Square community in Southampton are so popular. We’re pleased to see the Government is noting this trend too and backing the creation of more homes in urban areas.

“We’re also pleased to see the UK’s growing Build to Rent sector is being supported, with £8 billion of new financial guarantees to support private housebuilding and the BtR sector.”

Today’s speech unveiled plans to:
• Introduce planning reforms that will ensure more land is available for housing, and that maximises the potential in cities and towns for new homes while protecting the Green Belt
• Provide £8 billion of new financial guarantees to support private housebuilding and the purpose-built private rented sector (also known as Build to Rent sector)
• Provide £400 million of loan funding for estate regeneration to transform run-down neighbourhoods and provide new homes in high‑demand areas
• Give £204 million of funding for innovation and skills in the construction sector, including to train a workforce to build new homes
• Add a further £1.5 billion to the Home Building Fund, providing loans specifically targeted at supporting SMEs who cannot access the finance they need to build.
• Explore options with industry to create £8 billion worth of new guarantees to support housebuilding, including SMEs and purpose built rented housing.

The budget report, which followed Mr Hammond’s speech, outlined how expanding housing stock in urban areas can help to boost a city’s productivity.

It says: “Increasing the supply of housing in the right places brings productivity gains. It supports flexible and responsive labour markets, enabling people to work where they are most productive, and allows successful towns and cities to become even more productive by realising agglomeration economies.

“Expanding the stock of housing in urban areas can lead to agglomeration benefits where it increases the density of economic activity. Studies find larger cities boost productivity: doubling a city size or density increases productivity by 3 to 8%.”

Allan Gordon reflected: “Having the right housing mix is crucial in the economic development of cities. We’re pleased to see measures being introduced that will help companies like ours deliver this on the ground.”