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80% of smaller builders have disappeared since 1998, research shows.

Shocking contraction of industry is partly why the UK struggles to build enough homes, says LendInvest.

Nigel Lewis

smaller buildersThe number of estate agents doing business in the UK has had its ups and downs over the years, but its cyclical woes are nothing compared to those of smaller builders, it has been revealed.

Eighty percent of all smaller builders have gone out of business over the past 30 years, the research by online property marketplace LendInvest shows.

It say there were 12,200 smaller house builders in 1998, a figure which had fallen to 5,700 by 2006 and to 2,400 by 2014.

The company says that by increasing the number of smaller builders in the UK back up to 5,000, some 25,000 extra homes could be built every year.

This follows a recent House of Lords enquiry that discovered eight of the largest builders in the UK construct 50% of all homes built each year.

“Decades of successive governments’ under-investment and muted decisions, coupled with a planning system that defaults to favouring larger sites over small ones has cumulatively left UK housing in a dire situation,” says Christian Faes, CEO of LendInvest (pictured, left).

London’s smaller builders

In London, agent Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward reckons that while 66% of all new home developments in the current pipeline are being built by small and medium size builders, because they tend to be small sites of between 20 and 150 homes, these developers only build one in five new homes in London.

“The Government’s Housing White Paper makes clear that small and medium sized developments are vital for London to meet its housing need,” says John East, Director of Land and New Homes at KFH (pictured, right).

“Our analysis proves that more has to be done to support developers at the smaller end of the scale. Making more land available for these developments and accelerating the construction of sites that already have planning permission is a start, but securing consent will remain a challenge where there are local sensitivities.”

March 7, 2017

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