The FMB House Builders' Survey, which has now been running for over a decade, provides a comprehensive breakdown of the major barriers stopping small, local house builders from delivering homes. It also explores a wide array of broader factors that influence the market for small, local house builders.
The reports main findings are:
Main constraints on supply
- The ‘lack of available and viable land’ is the most cited constraint (62% of respondents) on SME house builders’ ability to build more homes.
- This is closely followed by ‘the planning system’ at 60%.
- Shortage of skills enters the top three at 47%.
- Restricted mortgage availability being cited at the fourth biggest issue (by 38% of responders) with 48% thinking this will get worse over the next three years.
Access to finance
- ‘Interest rates charged on new loans’ was rated as the most significant finance related issue, well ahead of any other issue.
- Self-build/Custom contracts have topped the list as the most popular source of funding for a project (50%) replacing last year’s private equity which has fallen third behind high street banks.
- 41% of respondents stated that there are sites that they have an interest in that are stalled for finance-related reasons.
Small sites and land availability
- 82% of respondents report that the number of small site opportunities is decreasing, up from 71% last year and only 3% say that the number is increasing.
- 25% of respondents believe that small sites are being taken more seriously by planners and local authorities, which is up from 11% in 2021.
Planning application process
- Respondents rated ‘Inadequate resourcing of planning departments’ as the most significant cause of delay in the planning application process, followed by ‘Inadequate communication by planning officers.
- Respondents rated ‘cost imposed by delays in the system’ as the most significant cause of additional cost in the planning process.
- Only 11% of respondents feel either a ‘very high’ or ‘quite high’ degree of certainty over the outcome of planning applications; 47% feel they have ‘quite low’ or ‘very levels’ of certainty; and 40% say they feel medium levels of certainty.
Workforce and skills
- 25% of respondents are planning to grow their on-site workforce over the next year, against just 6% who are planning to decrease their on-site workforce.
- Fewer firms say that they are employing apprentices this year (40% compared to 46% in 2021). However, many more firms have up-skilled workers (46% compared to 36% in 2021).
If you want to find out more about this survey please contact our policy team at [email protected].