Can Help-To-Buy time extension boost housing market?

Redrow founder and chairman Steve Morgan has called for stamp duty and Help-to-Buy changes to drive the housing market forward and keep the economy growing.


Steve Morgan was speaking at the launch of Woodford Garden Village, one of the largest brownfield redevelopments in the North West, where local community groups, politicians and industry professionals had gathered to help Redrow celebrate its opening.

During the day he highlighted how housing transactions have gone down as stamp duty has gone up and the tax was affecting people’s mobility: “Stamp duty has a huge impact on the market. Not only do buyers have to raise huge deposits, they then have to find thousands more in stamp duty. The last two increases have been very damaging, particularly to the London market.”

He also called for Government to extend the time limit from application to completion on Help-to-Buy equity loans to 12 months from the current 6. This would enable first time buyers to reserve a new build house farther in advance of its completion when using the incentive; allowing them to compete with investors who are free to reserve at an earlier stage.

Overall though the Redrow chairman was positive about the housing market, and saw the current climate as a good time for housebuilders, with land finally coming through the planning system – albeit still too slowly for his liking – and for customers, with mortgage interest costs remaining low.

He was particularly passionate about the much-anticipated Woodford Garden Village development, on the former Woodford Aerodrome site, near Stockport, in Greater Manchester; a major brownfield site that will eventually feature around 920 new homes, a new primary school, and significant green space.

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Has Grand Designs killed off the barn conversion?

Horror stories on the Kevin McCloud show have been blamed as the reason behind a fall in the number of conversions. It’s not the first time a TV programme has changed the nation’s makeover habits.


Now barn conversions are officially on the wane with the number of agriculture-to-residential property conversions in England falling by a quarter over the past year. According to a report by funding firm Saving Stream, conversions dropped from 563 in 2015 to 413 for the same period in 2016. The decline is attributed to a lack of funding, uncertainty following Brexit, the increase in stamp duty on second homes, and adventurous builders being put off by horror stories on TV shows

Barn conversions are in decline because developers are scared by nightmare tales from TV programmes such as Grand Designs.

The number of agriculture to residential property conversions in England has fallen by a quarter over the past year a due to a lack of funding and developers’ jitters.

The decline has also been attributed to uncertainty following Britain’s decision to leave the EU but more must be done to encourage builders to tackle conversion projects, a spokesman for funding firm Saving Stream said.

A report into the conversion of farm buildings said they had dropped from 563 last spring to 413 earlier this year.

Blame has been lodged at property programmes which often show horror stories including builders forking out thousands of pounds over their original budgets or ending up with buildings that are worlds away from what was intended.

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Build-Zone New Home Warranty has received CTSI Stage One

Following Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) Stage One approval of the Build-Zone Code of Conduct for Home Builders, the Build-Zone New Home Warranty has been confirmed as acceptable for lending Purposes by Lloyds Banking Group and its various lending brands.


CTSI Stage One approval means that our Code has been recognised as having the potential to enhance the Consumer’s experience during the purchase of a new home from a builder/developer registered under the Code and the after sale customer care service.

As part of the approval process the Code Sponsor Sennocke International Insurance Services Ltd will be demonstrating to the Consumer Codes Approval Board that the code is working and of benefit to Consumers, and following that all our members will be able to proudly display the approved code logo. Full approval is likely to be in March 2017.

Leon Livermore, Chief Executive of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said:

“Although Sennocke is yet to be fully approved, Stage One approval demonstrates the firm is committed to achieving high levels of customer satisfaction.  Consumers and mortgage lenders alike need confidence surrounding the housing market and this code aims to deliver exactly that.

We will continue to work closely with Sennocke towards the next and final stage of the approval process.”

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Build Zone Survey Services

Build Zone Survey Services Ltd (BZSS), manages the Site Inspection process for Self-Build Zone for your project.  This is required in order for Self-Build-Zone to issue their 10 year Structural Warranty.  We handle Surveys and Inspections for all types of projects whether part complete or complete, new build or conversions.


We also work with a number of other specialists therefore being able to facilitate a number of other services to the Self – Builder including Building Control, snagging reports, Party Wall, CDM, Air Pressure Testing EPC and SAP Assessments.

As part of the audit for Self-Build Zone, we are able to offer our Stage Completion Certification to the Client.

Stage Certificates are often required if you are looking to take out a loan or mortgage for the project and the funds are provided to you in stages.  These are sometimes referred to as “Architects Certificates”.

BZSS can arrange this for you but you need inform us at the start of the build and provide the following information.  We will need to know if you have an “Arrears” or “Advance” loan and what stages the certificates are required by your Lender.

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How New Self-Build Duty Will Affect Councils’ Planning Strategies

The government has proposed changes to the planning system to boost the number of self- and custom-built homes. However, the new measures could place new burdens on overstretched planning teams.


Industry figures indicate that the UK is behind other Western nations when it comes to promoting new self- or custom-built housing and the new self-build planning guidelines aim to change that.

Figures from the National Custom & Self Build Association (NACSBA) also show that the number of self-build completions in the UK has dropped sharply from a pre-recession peak.

The government, however, is keen to see numbers rise again as a way of helping to ease the country’s chronic housing shortage. Planning minister Brandon Lewis has spoken of the government’s “commitment to double the number of custom-build and self-build homes by 2020”; the NACSBA’s current estimated annual figure for the UK is around 12,500. To achieve this ambitious aim, ministers have recently proposed a series of changes to the planning system.

In 2014, the coalition government launched a consultation entitled Right to Build: supporting custom and self-build – with “custom build” referring to homes built to owners’ specification rather than by the owners themselves.

One of the key measures, a requirement for local planning authorities to keep registers of those who express an interest in self- and custom build for their area, was introduced last March in the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015. The act places a duty on councils to “have regard to” their register when carrying out their planning responsibilities.

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