BLP - More needs to be done to encourage aspiring self-builders

More homeowners in the UK would consider undertaking a self-build project to help them secure their dream home compared to last year. However, more still needs to be done to help self-builders get their projects off the ground and fulfil their aspirations.

A recent survey*, conducted by

BLP Insurance

, the specialist residential and commercial insurer, found that 55% of respondents would be keen to undertake a self-build project, a five per cent increase since 2013. Unsurprisingly, one of the key factors prohibiting construction is the availability of land in the desired area. Concerns around the lack of land obtainable for those wanting to self-build have more than doubled in the last year, rising from 15% to 34%.

The results come as the industry calls for more to be done to end the housing crisis within a generation. It is estimated that 300,000** new homes a year need to be built for the foreseeable future and many believe that freeing up public land for homes and supporting a greater diversity of developers including those who want to self-build should be considered.

The recession made lenders nervous about giving funds to self-builders and thanks to a restricted amount of funding available for projects, the number of self-build homes built in England and Wales in 2013 was just 8,500, a 32% drop when compared to 2012, according to the National Customs and Self Build Association.

Despite the uplift seen in the economy, money was still the number one factor standing in the way for other respondents. Fifty-seven of those homeowners surveyed who would consider building their own home blamed lack of available funding as the biggest thing stopping them from getting started. The results of the survey from BLP Insurance showed an increase from last year, with nine per cent citing that they would expect to have difficulty securing the finance from lenders to enable them to do it.

This was closely followed by having the time to complete the project, which has doubled to nearly 30% since last year as professionals try to balance heavy workloads and family commitments alongside dealing with contractors and project managing builds. Other factors putting people off included the inconvenience of the having the work done, a lack of expertise and not wanting to deal with the stress it might cause. There are also concerns around rogue traders and finding the right contractors for the job.

Brian Kilroy, Business Development Manager at BLP Insurance, says: "The recession put a lot of people off making such a large investment of time and money in their home and access to funding was limited as many lenders shied away from the self-build market. This is starting to relax now and with more support coming through from local authorities we should start to see more projects come to fruition in the future.

"Self-build gained more government support last year and it is starting to help tackle Britain's housing shortage. However, more could be done. The idea of using the Help to Buy scheme to cover self-builds has been mooted muted and this would give homeowners more access to the funding they need. Local authorities are also supporting the plight by relaxing planning rules and regulations to some degree. This is a good start, but we desperately need measures that are more tangible.

"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."

BLP Insurance believes it is vital that you also take measures to protect your financial investment and seek warranty insurance to protect the property should any defects occur. This will ensure that your home and your financial investment is fully protected in the event that anything goes wrong structurally at a later date.

*The survey was carried out amongst 118 homeowners across the UK.

**Freeing Housing Assocations: Better financing, more homes, Policy Exchange

www.blpinsurance.comFor further information, please contact:Broadgate Mainland, Lianne Robinson, Cara Penkethman and Henry Adams
Telephone:  020 7726 6111

Staff Author

Thomas Miller Group