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House building growth slowing, warns Federation of Master Builders

The pace of growth in private housing slowed in the last three months of 2013 according to the latest economic survey from the Federation of Master Builders.

Commenting on the results of the FMB’s State of Trade Survey for the final quarter of 2013, Brian Berry, FMB Chief Executive, said:  “Despite a sustained recovery for small building companies right across the UK, the growth in new house building slowed down in both the public and private sectors, which is a worrying indicator that we are failing to build the homes that are desperately needed. This is despite the rise in demand and the chronic shortage of new homes across the UK.”

Berry added: “For decades Britain has fallen way short of building the number of new homes that we need. Policies such as the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme have begun to revitalise the housing market and reinvigorate demand but more needs to be done to increase supply and encourage smaller house builders to build more homes. Measures to boost the availability of land; ease the regulatory burden; and improve access to finance all need urgent attention.”

People looking for a new build property but putting off the jump until later in the year should be warned, “….around 43% of builders [are] saying they may have to put up their prices to customers in the next 6 months” concludes Berry.

On reading the survey, Paula Higgins Chief Executive of the HomeOwners Alliance commented:

“The government needs to encourage and help house builders to be braver, bolder and get building”.

“As the FMB point out, government incentives like reducing the rate of VAT from 20% to 5% on all housing renovation and repair work could help homeowners as well as the recovery of parts of the construction sector.”

“At the moment 20% VAT on your home improvements can be prohibitive while 5%  would see a real increase in people getting quotes and paying tax on a variety of repair and maintenance projects, leaving the HMRC, tradesmen and homeowners in a better place.”

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