To many people in this country, the rules and laws relating to the housing industry appear to be set in stone but to a group, currently studying the housing situation in the country, the housing situation seems unique. Most of the alternatives also seem to be more attractive.
It is interesting to compare the way things were to what they are today. In 1947 the Town and Country Planning Act was introduced, and with this came the modern planning system we have today. This act initiated the rule that planning permission was required before any dwelling could be built. Before the act came into being a person could build anything on the land as long as the land was owned by the person.
In the ensuing years different planning policies have developed with some being more liberal than others. During the 1960’s a new home could be built in the countryside but this is no longer allowed. The planning system has now become somewhat narrow minded and follows the negative thinking of those in local politics. It is easier to refuse than to agree and the whole system is set up to protect existing home owners.
This situation does not always work and the planning laws are set up to discourage new building. This creates a selling market with artificially high housing prices and this means poor design and quality. A Mortgage Strategy commentator has recently pointed out it is very difficult to get planning permission and many developers tend to save large areas of land for years and take out options on the remaining land.
The Government has recently introduced the National Planning Policy Framework and this will remove power from those with pessimistic views in local politics. Unfortunately it will be a difficult plan to implement. Easier routes for the self builder have recently been announced but it remains to be seen if these will be effective.
Australia has an entirely different approach to the housing industry as a whole. The new home market allows the home owner to take complete control. Land and houses do go on sale but very rarely is a house built specifically for a person to buy. In an effort to boost the housing market, the Australian Government offers a grant of £4,500 to all first time buyers. This offer is sometimes matched by each state as well.
Custom home building is encouraged. Although developers do sell house and land together to consumers who want these, the system is geared towards the person obtaining a plot of land and then choosing the house he wants to build. The proposed house has a set price with guaranteed specifications and the owner is able to upgrade as the house develops.