New £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund for councils will unlock building

A new Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) has opened for bids from English local authorities to help create the infrastructure needed to unlock house building.

New £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund for councils will unlock building

Launched by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid at the recent Local Government Association Conference in Birmingham, the £2.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund has the potential to unlock 100,000 new homes in areas of high demand. The fund was originally announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement.

The fund is available to councils to finance the physical infrastructure projects necessary to bring on housebuilding, such as bridges, roads and energy networks, which otherwise hold housebuilding back.

Investment will be available to fund new schools, healthcare facilities and digital infrastructure that is necessary for new communities, while alleviating pressure on existing public services.

Like much of current Government focus, there is an expectation on speed of delivery, with councils expected to move quickly from approvals to creating the infrastructure, swiftly followed by housing.

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New Home Warranty – Your choice of Insurer is becoming ever more critical

Why?

Structural Warranty Insurance runs for 10 or 12 years whereas most insurance policies run for only 12 months.

Some key things to consider such as: –

  • What happens if your insurer becomes insolvent? If the Insurer goes bust then they won’t still be there to pay the claim.
  • What cover are you obtaining
  • What are the exclusions?
  • Does the policy cover the cost to fully rebuild the property or is there a lower limit?
  • Are key elements such as ‘ingress of water’ covered for the full policy period?

It is not always about price. Beware of the increasing number of providers who are offering very low premiums – there is usually a reason why they are cheaper.

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Build-Zone again emphasize and encourage the use of A-Rated Insurers after Elite Insurance cease underwriting

Build-Zone have always said and maintained that everyone who buys Structural Warranties should only do so from A-Rated Insurers as it is a long-term insurance policy.

We can offer a choice of A-rated Insurers and high capacity/limits available.

Insurance

If any Warranty Insurer is also engaged in Motor Insurance, and particularly now with the changes due to Ogden, they need to be extra careful because of the potential for long-term liabilities putting strain on their capital.

Always ensure that you are using Insurance Professionals who understand the business but also the Risk Management and who deal direct with the Underwriters and not a Wholesale Team / Telephone Sales Staff who just see it as easy pickings. It may not cost you anymore now for better “security” but could mean a lot in later years when claims start coming in.

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BuildStore CEO Raymond Connor says, “We need to review what custom build really means.”

Over the past 12 months, custom build has been a buzzword within our industry. However, not much has happened over the last year. This was down to the fact that there were very few companies within the wider property sector that knew much about the market’s potential.

custom build

However, the recent Housing White Paper, which has effectively given government endorsement to custom build, has had an enormous effect and brought this route to homeownership to the forefront of people’s minds in the industry.

Since the Paper was published we, BuildStore, have had renewed interest from lenders who are attracted to custom build due to the assistance that professional developers can offer to purchasers.

We are in the process of speaking to a variety of lenders about what custom build entails, and the advantages of entering the market. However, the question always asked by lenders is: “What is the difference between self-build and custom build?”

Each month we seem to have a more firmed up view that custom build is all about developer involvement, with developers providing the opportunities.

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2017 tender and building costs are poised to grow at a faster rate than in 2016

The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland released their PwC Construction Survey Report 2017 this week, showing that their Tender Price Index increased 6 per cent over the course of 2016.

tender and building costs

“If price inflation continues to grow at the current level, it is anticipated that pricing levels will return to the levels last seen in 2006 and 2007 in the next few years,” commented the authors.

The clear majority of respondents (90 per cent) expected an uptake in residential construction activity in 2017.

The good news for self-builders is that despite the increase in tender costs, the cost of building has only increased marginally over the same period.

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