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Government on Track to Build 100,000 New Homes

by Sarah Halloran

If you are particularly after purchasing a new home then good news is on the horizon.  The Government is currently on track to build 100,000 new homes in the UK over the next 4 years, according to Housing Minister Grant Shapps.

Buying a home off-plan comes with a lot of benefits.  Firstly you get to be the first person to ever live in the house and you can see if well before it is built.  You can also usually choose various fittings such as carpets, the finish of kitchen units and the style of bathroom tiles.  Many housing developers are also making it easier for people to move into new homes by offering to pay deposits or stamp duty which can really be a lifeline to some first time buyers.

Mr Shapps said that he is “delighted” that Government departments are taking up the challenge to release more land with the space to build over 50,000 new homes, and that property experts will carry on working with departments to ensure “no stone is left unturned”.

At the same time, he also set a challenge for UK property firms to release as much land as possible and make it available for new homes.  A cabinet committee will carefully analyse each department’s plans to ensure every possible site is made available for house building.

Mr Shapps went on to explain that the new Community Right to Reclaim Land will assist communities with the improvement of their local area by arranging for disused publicly-owned land to be released for new developments.

He also claimed it will “revolutionise” the way local people, working alone or with their communities, will be able to come together to build the homes, shops and businesses the area needs.

“Ordinary people will have a simple system for making a case to use that land and improve their local area, with a promise they will now be listened to,” he added.

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Architects Brand New Homes as “Shameful”

by Sarah Halloran

The Royal Institute of British Architects has referred to many new-build homes in the UK as “shameful shoe boxes” that are too small for family life.

RIBA has carried out its ‘Case for Space’ study of 3,418 three-bedroom properties in the UK and reported that the average three-bedroomed house is 8% smaller than the recommended minimum.  That lost space equates to the size of a single bedroom, according to RIBA – enough room for a single bed, bedside table, wardrobe, desk and chair.

Even worse, some three-bedroomed homes were found to be even smaller, with a shortfall of two double bedrooms or built using only 77% of the recommended minimum space.  Whilst there are currently no UK-wide ‘minimum space’ standards, RIBA’s research was conducted using the London Plan space standards based on the 96 sq m minimum currently laid out in the guidelines.

RIBA chief executive Harry Rich said that these new homes were causing some homeowners to live a lesser quality of life.  He said “Our homes should be places that enhance our lives and well-being,”

“However, as our new research confirms, thousands of cramped houses – shameful shoe box homes – are being churned out all over the country, depriving households of the space they need to live comfortably and cohesively.”

As a result of its findings, RIBA wants consumers to have access to better information from house builders and estate agents so they can see exactly what they are getting for their money.  Off-plan properties can be deceptive and RIBA would like all plans to include furniture and other fittings to give consumers a clearer picture.  Show-homes should also be furnished completely and present rooms as realistically as possible.

A spokesman said: “Under our planning reforms neighbourhoods will be able to design and vote on their own plans for the future of their areas, giving them the chance to exercise meaningful choice over the type and size of homes that are built, and giving developers the chance to benefit from a smoother process for getting planning permission by working with local people from the start.”

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