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MPs Calling For End of Market Dominance by Big House Building Firms

UK MPs want to correct the afflicted housing market by ending the dominance by big house building firms.

According to the Communities and Local Government Committee, the eight largest firms in the country built more than half of all new homes produced. MPs are asserting that the government should provide more support for smaller firms that do not have the scale to place bids on bigger projects.

The Home Builders Federation, which represents both large and small building firms, has stated that only big companies can mitigate and handle the risks that projects of a larger scale represent.

The Communities and Local Government Committee also indicated that land should be prepared for house building by local authorities. This would include providing all necessary infrastructure, such as public transport and roads.

MP Clive Betts, who chairs the committee, said that the housing market is broken and not enough new homes are being built.

Mr Betts said that smaller builders are fewer in number and the sector is already over-depending on a small number of higher-volume firms, which he described as motivated by “commercial self-interest” with little incentive to build homes at a faster rate.

 

He stated that if the homes that the UK so desperately needs are to be built, the dominance must be brought to an end.

The committee concluded that smaller builders had a difficult time obtaining land for development, as local authorities tended to focus on bigger sites that only larger developers could afford to tackle.

The Homebuilders Federation said that it fully supported the committee’s call for steps to support smaller house building firms, encourage new firms to enter the field, and scale up the retirement housing market and other specialist housing sectors.

A representative stated that the overwhelming majority of large housing supply increases in recent years have come from the bigger, mainstream developers. However, builders of all sizes and specialties are needed if the acute housing shortage is to be tackled.

In February, after admitting that the current market was in poor shape, the government pledged to make more affordable homes available and assist people in finding properties to buy or rent.

The housing strategy for England included providing local councils with the authority to pressure developers to start building on land that belongs to them.

Ministers also vowed to make the renting process more family-friendly by making longer tenancies available. Labour, however, has called these measures, "feeble beyond belief".

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