What is this new scheme?

The UK has often lagged behind other countries when it comes to building self and custom build housing. So this new ‘Help to Build’ scheme from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) is aimed at boosting the self and custom built sector, which in turn should provide a boost for SME house builders.

Why is Help to Build important?

It will enable more of the general public to construct their own homes. Ultimately, this will help to deliver more homes and most importantly for our members, more work.

What will the scheme do?

The scheme, which opened for applications on 24 June 2022, aims to help consumers who have been priced out of traditional self build projects. It will help them build their own homes in an area they want to live in. This would usually require large sums to be paid up-front – the average self and custom build deposit is around 25% of the total land and building cost – this new initiative helps alleviate this burden.

How will it work?

Help to Build works in a similar way to the Help to Buy. Applicants can access government-backed loans worth up to 5% to 20% of the total estimated value of the plot of land and build cost, or up to 40% in London. Under the scheme, custom and self build projects are capped at a maximum value of £600,000, which must include the cost of the land and with no more than £400,000 to be spent on the build.

It’s hoped that Help to Build will also enable people with specific living requirements to build homes that fit their needs, including those with disabilities and extended families living with elderly relatives.

What can the loan be used for?

It can be used to:

  • Build a new home
  • Buy a building plot
  • Build an ‘airspace development’ flat (these are new homes built in unused space above an existing building)
  • Convert a commercial property into a residential home
  • Customise a shell build
  • Demolish an existing building and replace it with a new home

What’s the background?

Richard Bacon MP launched an independent review of scaling up self and custom housebuilding. The review set out how the sector could deliver 30,000-40,000 new homes a year. The Government have set out several of the measures it will take forward from the Bacon Review to boost home building, including:

  • A specialist unit within Homes England to bring forward more self and custom build plots on regeneration projects across the country.
  • Bringing forward legislation through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to promote self and custom building, including the review of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
  • The Modern Methods of Construction Task Force (MMC) will promote the use of modular factory-built to boost custom homebuilding.

To find out more about the Help to Build scheme, visit OwnYourHome.

What’s the FMB been doing?

The FMB have been helping to push forward this initiative by working with other trade organisations to help show that this would help diversify the housing market, a key part of the Government’s housing strategy. But we also recognise this is part of wider effort to deliver more homes, which in turn creates more work for SME builders, which is a core focus of the policy work of the FMB.

We recognise that the delivery of homes from SME housebuilders is in decline and we’re working with government and stakeholders to reverse this. Read more about the FMB and our work on SME house building here.


Got a question?

Speak to our policy team on 020 7025 2934 or send us an email.

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