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Easier finance “helping small housebuilders”

Access to finance for small housebuilders is showing signs of improvement, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

The organisation’s 2015 House Builders’ Survey found increased levels of participation in house building by small builders, boosted by a buoyant housing market and government moves to improve access to finance.

Despite the improvement, nearly two thirds of builders cited difficulty in accessing finance as inhibiting their ability to deliver new housing.

FMB chief executive Brian Berry said: “Too many small developers are being held back by banks’ reluctance to lend for small scale development, which is stopping new building.

“Government initiatives, such as the Builders’ Finance Fund and Housing Growth Partnership, have helped ease the situation but it needs to continue to seek ways of encouraging the flow of finance into the SME sector. Some form of loan guarantees, or further well-judged interventions along the lines of the Housing Growth Partnership, would be helpful.”

Responding to the survey results, housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis said: “This ‘one nation’ government has got Britain building again. Confidence is up and we’re starting to see a real revival across the industry, but we know there is more to do.

“That’s why we’re helping to boost the supply of houses, with £1bn in brownfield funding to generate more viable land and building 200,000 starter homes.

“Our new Housing Growth Partnership will also help smaller builders invest in new projects, allowing them to recruit and train skilled workers and become more competitive in their local area. I’d encourage them to apply for a share of this £100m fund.”