Nick Woolley attended the Housebuilder Housing Market Intelligence Conference on 8th October. At the Conference Housebuilders were challenged by the government and the Labour party to improve their performance and meet the challenge of new homes supply.
Peter Schofield, DCLG’s Director General of Housing, posed a series of questions to delegates, reminding housebuilders that solving the housing shortage “isn’t a job for Government alone.” He asked the industry if it was doing enough to turn planning permissions into new starts. While acknowledging the “complicated relationship” between the two, he said: “Now is the time for you to make the case for increasing volumes.”
He also called on housebuilders to join the government in building 200,000 starter homes, building on Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative party conference the day before. He was at pains to stress:
Labour’s shadow housing minister John Healey also challenged the industry, questioning whether Help to Buy was still needed and justifiable. “No-one’s mentioned the scale of taxpayer underwriting – £2.5 billion,” he said.
The Homebuilder’s Federation Director of Economic Affairs, John Stewart, stressed some useful underlying facts and figures:
Taylor Wimpey CEO, Pete Redfern, gave delegates his view on the market and the path ahead. He urged government not to focus on the housing numbers at the peak of the market, but at the low point. That way the focus will be on achieving more stability in the market and avoiding significant downturns.
Redfern explained the areas that TW was focusing on in the future, including retention, recruitment and development of employees and Project 2020, which seeks to look at what the home of 2020 could look like and what innovation is required to get there.
Nick Woolley asked the Housebuilder Federation to be inputting realism into the Government’s rethink into Section 106 demands, which are currently making too many sites unviable, particularly in areas of low market value. This drew much warm appreciation from the audience.October 13th, 2015