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Sourcing and financing a plot amongst self builders’ biggest concerns

1 Oct 2020

4 min read

Added: October 2020

Despite 30 October 2020 marking the first Right to Build Day; the one-year anniversary of the date that local authorities were required to meet the demand for self build plots in their area, new research reveals that finding a suitable plot remains one of the biggest challenges faced by self builders.

A new survey from Ipswich Building Society revealed that one in five potential self builders cite finding a plot to be a concern but ahead of that, 40 per cent of respondents believe financing their build would be the most difficult aspect of the project.

Another challenging issue for self builders is finding the right contractors, with 20 per cent believing this would be the hardest part of the process.

The research also revealed that over a third (35 per cent) of British adults are currently considering a self build project at some point in the future. The main motivations for building their own home are:

  • Control over design (51 per cent)
  • Environmental factors (28 per cent)
  • Financial reasons (17 per cent)

The research also revealed that those considering a self build project feel that location is their most important consideration when choosing a plot (40 per cent) followed by price (17 per cent). People are also mindful of whether full planning permission has been approved (12 per cent) and the size of the plot (12 per cent) as well as whether outline planning permission has been approved (9 per cent).

Right to Build

Right to Build Day on 30 October, launched by the National Custom & Self Build Association (NaCSBA), is the first anniversary of the date all English authorities were required to demonstrate they have granted enough permission for people who signed up to the Right to Build registers held by their individual local council.

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

Those planning to embark on a self build project however, need to be aware of the classification of their build with regards to their mortgage application. Ipswich Building Society’s research reveals that more than half (52 per cent) 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.

Grimshaw continued: “As an industry we all need to do more to ingrain self build as a manageable and achievable option for homeowners. Fortunately or unfortunately, the idea of self build is very much linked to programmes like Grand Designs, which on the one hand is a superb source of inspiration, however self build projects do not have to be of the scale or cost that we’re accustomed to viewing on television. They can be a really viable option for people with a vision and creativity who would like to design their own home within a reasonable budget too.”

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