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Is Britain in the middle of a housing crisis?

Is Britain in the middle of  a housing crisis?

There is an ongoing argument in Britain that more Green Belt land should be released to allow property developers to build more homes. Demand is at an all time high right now and it’s estimated that only half of the required homes are being built which is pushing house prices sky high.

House price increases are at their highest since before the recession!

Brownfield_site | Condor EstatesThe Government estimates that there is enough brownfield sites to build 2.5 million new homes, a large majority of these are based in London where the demand for property remains constantly high.

As the average house price across the Uk is at an all time high of around £275,000 and prices in London close to £500,000 it is deemed by many who work in the industry that action needs to be taken swiftly. There are Government plans to build around 200,000 homes on land by 2020 but it is felt that this may just of been pre election ‘spin’ to secure votes.

Green Belt & Brownfield…what are these?

Green Belt land refers to a section or area of land that has never been developed on and is a mostly protected area in the UK.

  • Are sites which have not previously been built on. This includes the greenbelt land around cities.
  • Are cheaper to build on.
  • Are not favoured by environmentalists, as it encourages urban sprawl.
  • Will mean that countryside is built on.
  • Encourage commuting and traffic congestion as people travel into urban areas from the countryside.

Brownfield land refers to a section or area of land that has previously been built upon in either a domestic or commercial capacity.

  • Are often on disused or derelict land.
  • Are more available in the North and Midlands (but most housing demand is in the south east).
  • Are valuable as existing buildings can be split up into more homes on any one site.
  • The site has already been developed so reduces urban sprawl.
  • Use unsightly areas for building developments, so improves the urban environment.
  • Are found in urban areas, so building housing there reduces demand on car use.
  • Are more expensive to build on as often the land needs to be cleared first (especially if land is contaminated from previous industrial use).

Restrictions

Greenbelt | Condor EstatesUnder current legislation Green Belt land is strongly protected which is designed to keep the UK’s countryside intact. Some land does get released in a very controlled manner and not at a rate that is in-keeping with the demand currently. Development on land has become the trend, although ultimately it’s not popular as this type of development takes a long time.

However, brownfield sites can be expensive to prepare, for example if existing buildings need to be demolished, and are typically higher in price than undeveloped land.
“Getting planning permission is another hurdle,” says Andy Hill, founder and chief executive of Hill Partnerships. “Gone are the days of being able to buy a piece of land and start developing nine months later. Starting from scratch, it takes about a year to get approval, then up to another 12 months to start on site. It’s amazing and highly frustrating how long it takes to get planning.”

It’s estimated that there is enough Brownfield land in England for 2.5m new homes, and a large majority of which are in London where demand for new homes is at its highest.

Solutions

We can’t see the demand for property in the UK dropping anytime soon, especially in London which poses a real problem considering the current situation. Unless a real solution can be put together by the current Government then obviously things will continue to decline and become harder, we hope this doesn’t happen. Changes need to be made to allow Brownfield sites to be developed quicker but still within the regulations, innovations in housing need to accepted to allow developers and architects to build smarter for the future.

What are your thoughts on the housing issue in the UK? Do you have any thoughts on how things can be moved forward then leave a comment below.

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