The Self Build Portal is the consumer website of the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA), aimed at supporting would be builders. While 2020 was a well acknowledged shocker for most people, you may be surprised to know that it worked out pretty well for would-be custom and self builders.

Although aimed at professionals working in custom and self build, NaCSBA’s Review of the Year makes for interesting reading for anyone wondering whether they can access an owner-commissioned homes.

Read NaCSBA’s Review of the Year

Among the highpoints:

NaCSBA set up a group to promote Housing Diversification – designed to work to give more people the chance to access a home that suits the.  Members include Federation of Master Builders and the House Builders Association (which represents small- and medium-housebuilders) and community led housing groups, including the UK Cohousing Network and the National Community Land Trust Network.

NaCSBA also lobbies government and responds to various consultations to ensure that self build gets a proper attention, including the Planning for the Future White Paper.

It also conducted research into the nation’s self build aspirations, which it produced along with the Building Societies Association. This found that a third of people are interested in self building in the future. Of this third – the younger age group were the most keen to get started.

The announcement of a new Help to Build Equity Loan scheme should help this 33% of the population that is interested in a self or custom build project, as it offers a valuable route to finance. To date, there’s little information about how this might work – but NaCSBA will share the news as soon as it is finalised.

Behind the scenes, the Right to Build Task Force has also been busy helping local authorities get to grips with the Right to Build, and also produced new Planning Guidance for Custom and Self Build. Although aimed at professionals – it makes for very useful reading if you are preparing a self build for submission for planning.

 

Image: Self Build Aspirations

Celebrating Right to Build Day, the Ipswich Building Society conducted its own research into the custom and self build market. Like NaCSBA and the Building Societies Association’s survey, the Ipswich’s asked 2,000 people about their aspirations and understanding of the custom and self build sector, prompted by the way the pandemic has changed the way we see our homes.

Like NaCSBA’s research, the main finding was that 35% of UK adults (approximately 22 million people) said they would consider a self build project at some point in the future. The NaCSBA/BSA research found a similar figure, that 32% of people were interested in self building – adding empirical weight to the data.

The research found that:

Charlotte Grimshaw, Head of Mortgage Sales at Ipswich Building Society said: “Since the introduction of government legislation on 1 April 2016, self build projects have become a more recognised and viable choice for many people.

“However, finding the perfect plot of land is still something that self builders are concerned about. The introduction of Right to Build was a significant step for this often overlooked sector and with the UK having the lowest known rates of self build homes in the world, coupled with a substantial shortage of homes, local councils would do well to promote these registers more tenaciously, to ensure a continual supply of suitable plots.”

Lack of awareness about self build mortgages

The Ipswich Building Society commented that those planning to embark on a self build project should be aware of the classification of their build with regards to their mortgage application. This research reveals that more than half (52%) of people were unaware they would need a self build mortgage and not a standard residential mortgage for the major renovation of any property or self build project.

Ipswich Building Society advises that if the mortgage applicant has to live in a separate dwelling during the build, or if major renovation work leaves a property without kitchen and/or bathroom facilities for an extended period of time, this would usually fall under most lenders’ criteria for self build.

However, as self build mortgages are more complex than a standard mortgage application, it can be advisable to seek guidance from a mortgage intermediary who has experience in this area.

Ipswich Self Build Research infographic