Build To Rent Central Housing Group

Use it or lost it – RICS calls for urgent action to free up unused land for affordable housing

Surveyors are urging the Government to do more to free up brownfield and unused land.

RICS has highlighted data showing that 86% of surveyors are not expecting to market starter homes within the next 12 months, suggesting that respondents do not see any evidence of a pipeline on the horizon.

Ahead of the Housing White Paper and Autumn Statement, RICS also says the government should do more to free up brownfield and unused land, as well as investing more in local council planning departments to speed up approval of applications.

The calls come after the October’s RICS UK Residential Market Survey showed that 59% saw planning constraints as the main factor standing in the way of new housing development schemes.

It also showed that 59% said freeing up brownfield sites would be the main thing government could do to encourage more affordable housing, and 33% said the government should force developers to use land that is currently being land-banked.

RICS is recommending owners should have to develop land within two to three years of receiving permission to build, or sell to those willing and capable to build on it.

On getting more brownfield and unused land into the system, RICS recommends that the government should use direct commissioning and positive intervention, and include both private and public sites.

Jeremy Blackburn, head of policy at RICS, said: “These are things the government could do quickly that could boost the number of starter homes being built in the near future.

“However, we must be clear that not all starter homes will be affordable homes. Building more starter homes is a help, but it is only one way to tackle the huge social problem of the lack of affordable housing.”

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