Majority of Self-Builders Struggle
Building their own home has become a dream for many people, fuelled by the popularity of programmes such as Grand Designs. Homeowners often see it as an achievable dream and a way of getting exactly the type of property that they've always wanted, such as one with a large kitchen diner or a decorative balcony balustrade. However, the latest report has shown that the reality in many instances falls far short of the expectations, and that the market just isn't geared towards self-builders.
The research carried out by Goldsmiths, University of London, found that only those homeowners who have access to exactly the right facilities will end up with a home they've built themselves. This is despite a commitment from the government to support self-builders. The long-term study was carried out over three years and examined how housing in the UK has changed and the impact this has had on the self-build sector. The researchers spoke to those who have already built their homes, and it showed that it was only those with the right knowledge and skills, as well as the economic, cultural and social capabilities, who achieved their dream.
The research looked at a number of different routes within the self-build sector. It showed that there are many barriers to self-building success, and that for the majority of homeowners these were too great to overcome. Even the property owners with the necessary financial capabilities will still come up against issues, as the industry isn't set up to meet the specific needs of self-builders.
They often find that there isn't the expertise available to create their ideal property. This is especially true if they are looking to use different or new materials or technologies. For instance, if they want to construct a unique property that minimises the energy that is consumed, they often cannot find the trades people who can carry out the work professionally.
As well as the practical side of the construction process, there are also generally significant financial problems that need resolving. There is often a difficulty in securing the right type of self-build mortgage, as the products that are required just aren't readily available. The products need to be more flexible and enable homeowners to secure the right level of cash flow throughout the project.
The research highlighted that the self-build market could be a more diverse sector if the needs of homeowners were better met. This is an important part of the housing sector, especially as the market grows following the recession. There is room for further significant growth if it becomes a more viable route for more people.
With a better support system in place and more training available for those who want to learn about self-building, such as how to install a balcony balustrade, the sector could become a realistic option for more people. This will enable it to challenge the traditional route to owning a home and enable property owners to develop innovative solutions to meet their needs.