Grant Shapps joins forces with industry to take self build to the masses

Grant Shapps has today welcomed a new action plan for the self build industry that he says could be the turning point that takes it to the masses.

Meeting with the National Self Build Association (NaSBA) – the representatives of the self-build industry – Mr Shapps said that for too long obstacles have led to the UK having one of the lowest proportions of new homes built by self-builders in Europe, and that he wanted to see the self build industry become a mainstream housing option.

Earlier this year, Mr Shapps asked NaSBA and other industry experts to work with his officials to prepare an action plan to boost the number of self-builders across the country, and address the common barriers aspiring self-builders face.

Today they presented him with their findings on tackling the main challenges holding the self-build industry back: the availability of land and finance, lack of support from industry for new self builders and the impact of regulation.

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Build Zone welcomes launch of ‘Action Plan to promote the growth of self build housing’

An industry briefing of the long-awaited proposals that aim to boost the number of self-builds that take place in the UK took place on Tuesday 12th July. The resulting report, An Action Plan to Promote the Growth of Self-build Housing will be formally launched next week and is the result of six months work from the Self Build Government Industry Working Group, involving Build Zone Director, Simon Middleton.

Working with the Government, the National Self Build Association (NaSBA), published an action plan to promote the growth of self build in the UK. This was the culmination of more than six months work, involving over 100 experts in the self build sector. The report calls for action on four fronts and lists proposals that should to make more land available for self builders and more finance/mortgages; it should also result in less regulation and red tape and better independent advice to encourage more people to build their own homes.

Grant Shapps said at the briefing ““This is an enormously important moment in the housing history of this country,”

He went on to say:

“Self-build isn’t happening anywhere near its potential in the UK, and these proposals go a significant way to helping achieve my aspiration of doubling the number of homes self-built each year.”

I don’t want this to be a one-off process, rather the start of a revolution. The age of self-build has come,” he said.

The proposals in the plan will now be considered by Government and an implementation group will be established to monitor the progress. It is understood that the aim is to see everything in place by spring 2012. We will keep you updated as things progress.

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CML issues advice to friends taking out first-time buyers mortgages

Groups of friends who are looking at taking out their first mortgage together have been reminded of the implications of such a move.

According to Sue Anderson, an official at the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), each individual is responsible for ensuring mortgage repayments are delivered on time, the Daily Mail reports.

Therefore, every person who has taken out one of these mortgages for first-time buyers must fulfil their personal responsibilities.

“If one stops paying, the others have to cover the difference or face losing their home,” she commented.

Ms Anderson added that relatively few first-time buyers mortgages are taken out by groups of friends, which usually means three or more people.

Indeed, she said this type of buyer has never accounted for more than one per cent of the mortgage market.

This comes after Grant Shapps, the housing minister, highlighted this option as one he would “like to see explored”, as products for friends who are “perfectly capable” of meeting monthly mortgage payments but are “struggling” to pay for a deposit without help should be easier to access.

First time buyers have a lot to research, not least, the best deals amongst mortgages for first time buyers.

Source: First Rung Now

For more information from Build Zone about Structural Warranties, 10 Year Structural Warranties, contact the Build-Zone team on (0)845 230 9873 or email

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Number of mortgages at highest level in three years

The number of mortgage products available to UK mortgage intermediaries is at its highest level since 28 April 2008, figures from Mortgage Brain’s Monthly Product Analysis show.

Mortgage products numbers have increased for the seventh month in a row, rising by 4% in June.

As of 4 July 2011, Mortgage Brain’s mortgage sourcing system listed 12,525 mortgage products – up from 11,996 on 30 May 2011.

Positive movement was seen across the board for all main product types with variable rate loans seeing the biggest rise in product numbers at 21% to now represent 1,500 of all available mortgages.

A 6% increase (180 new products) during June saw the number of trackers climb for the third month in a row to 3,237.

Fixed rate products rose for the fourth consecutive month – by 1% – to their highest level since August 2008 and now represent 7,788 of all available mortgage products.

Over 4,000 new fixed rate products have been introduced to the UK intermediary mortgage market over the past 12 months further cementing them as the market’s most popular and dominant product type.

Mark Lofthouse, CEO of Mortgage Brain, commented: “Further encouraging data has been extracted from this month’s product analysis, which is great news for brokers and the mortgage market as a whole.

“Around 4,500 new products have become available during the past seven months alone and healthy increases across the board has seen the number of fixed, variable and trackers climb to their highest level since the summer of 2008.”

Source: Mortgage Finance Gazette

For more information from Build Zone about Structural Warranties, 10 Year Structural Warranties, contact the Build-Zone team on (0)845 230 9873 or email

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House sales and new mortgages up slightly in May, says CML

The number of house sales and new mortgages increased slightly in May, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

Loans for house purchases and remortgaging both grew slightly. There were 41,500 loans for house purchases, up from 40,800 in April, though the total loan value for each month was the same at £5.9 billion. However, despite the increase the amount and levels are still below last years’ levels.

Remortgage lending also increased slightly in May with 29,000 loans advanced, compared to 24,700 in April. Compared to May last year remortgage lending has increased by nine per cent in value, but is still below the peak of March 2011.

Most new borrowers opted for fixed rate mortgages despite the continued low level of interest rates, perhaps because of uncertainty over the future of interest rates and to have the security of fixed payments in a time of rising inflation.

Chris Gardner, a mortgage expert from Obligo said: “The extreme caution of borrowers is highlighted by the popularity of fixed rate mortgages despite the fact that rates are unlikely to rise any-time soon.”

“Many households are in a position such that they cannot even afford to gamble on rates. They have to play a conservative hand and opt for a fix.”

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