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Many of the houses in St Nicholas are unique, many having been built by their original owners. St Nicholas has been formed mostly by self-builders.  Today, the most innovative, forward thinking, energy efficient and sustainable homes are built by self-builders.

Self building also brings down the cost of new homes as this BBC graphic shows:

The National Self Build Association study (March 2013) found 6 million adults in the UK investigating/researching self-build.  Of these, one million are actively looking for land - 18% of these people are looking for land in Wales 

  • 18,000 active potential self-builders in Wales

Self builders are competing for land with large developers and Housing Associations.

Availability of land 
The price and availability of land remains a key challenge for self builders, primarily because self builders are under-capitalised and thus unable to compete effectively in land markets with well resourced housebuilders who are in a considerably stronger position to access borrowing or their own cash flow to fund land purchases and build up land reserves to meet their development programmes. 

Local authorities in the UK can and do allocate sites suitable for self build housing, but this practice still remains rare.

Local housing and planning policies relating to self build are very patchy as few local authorities capture any evidence on the sector to support any proactive enabling policies, despite the size of the sector and the number of local people looking for plots  1 . Some authorities told us the lack of recognition in national policy is a contributing factor to this position as it is often difficult to justify local policies when plans are examined by Inspectors. 

Buildstore has almost 80,000 registered self builders looking for plots across the UK

The Building Societies Association

Research shows that self build is a particularly popular concept in Wales (63%), Northern Ireland (62%) and the East of England (59%) and least popular in London (47%) and the Midlands (48%).

Key Statistics:

  • 13,800 self-build homes were completed in 2010/11 (DCLG estimate)
  • 400,000 people searched Rightmove in September 2011 looking for a building plot.
  • 100,000 people subscribe to one of the main plot-finding websites.
  • 53% of respondents to a YouGov survey said they would be interested 

The top three barriers were the:
  • potential for it to be too expensive (40%), 
  • difficulty in getting planning permission (39%) 
  • availability of suitable land (38%) 

The aspiration to build was not the preserve of the wealthier in society with an even spread of interest across all socio-economic groups (ABC1: 53% and C2DE: 54%).  

Whilst the numbers may sound large, the UK lags well behind other countries.  In Austria for example around 80% of all new homes are self built and in France and Germany the equivalent figure is circa 60%**. The UK Government has committed in its housing strategy for England to work with industry to double this sector over the next ten years, adding 100,000 homes to help fill the housing gap and support up to 50,000 jobs directly and indirectly per year - taking self build mainstream. 

Mutual lenders are leading the way in providing mortgages for those who want to build their own homes, with 20 plus building societies already providing this kind of mortgage finance.

Housing Minister, Grant Shapps MP (2011) said:  "Self builders built more homes last year than many of the major developers in this country.  But I want to see more of this, see the industry fulfil its potential and double in size to ensure anyone wanting to build their own home has access to the help and information they need.

Self build, or 'Custom Build' as the Government has called the sector, takes a number of forms including individuals building their own homes, kit or packaged homes, developer-built one-off houses and independent community collaboration where a group of self-builders buy a larger plot of land.  It is estimated that the sector accounted for two of every three one-off homes built in 2010/11*, adding as many new homes annually as any of the major house builders.

Bringing People and Land Together

Community Build is an exciting new concept for people who want to build their own homes as part of a group or community. Created by self-build facilitators Ecomotive, it acts as a matchmaking service between individuals, groups and landowners, allowing people to purchase building plots at more affordable prices and to access larger areas of land ideal for purpose-designed self-build communities.

And best of all, it’s all absolutely FREE!

Supported community self build group

  • It enables people on low incomes to build a home – either for rent, part ownership or full ownership. By working as part of a group costs are minimised
  • You get to know your neighbours as you do it
  • You can influence the wider area too – so you might also include communal play areas for your children, allotments or other features as part of the overall scheme
  • You often learn construction skills that may improve your chance of securing a job in the building industry afterwa

  • http://www.selfbuildportal.org.uk/supported-community-self-build-group
  • rds

Community Housing schemes in Wales are set for a boost thanks to new funding by the Welsh government.

The Wales Co-operative Centre has received funding and made contributions totalling £200,000 to support a number of pioneering co-operative housing schemes across Wales and will be shortly appointing a Project Manager to provide expert advice, support and training for each of the initiatives.

Ian Perry,
20 Nov 2013, 16:45