Every now and then you see something so annoying, yet equally so obvious, that you want to shout.
And so it was with Neil Hudson’s (as always) excellent recent map found below.
It shows that in the areas where there is the greatest need for more smaller homes to address affordability issues and enable market access – we in the industry actually tend to build our larger homes.
And when you think about it…..of course we would.
The greatest needs tend to be around the larger and/or more affluent cities where Green Belt or settlement policies kick in. The areas where desire to build is greatest but our opportunity to do so is least. So with such strong demand linked to the most stringent cap on unit numbers what do we do? Its obvious – we tend to increase the size of the product to secure the greatest amount of saleable floor space from a capped number of units.
So in effect we tend to maximise our build aspiration per dwelling rather than, as we would like, by building more units. Our residual land value model will tend push to higher unit sizes where unit numbers are capped AND demand need is strong.
Crazy – Yes. Easy solution – Yes.
Simply make it easier to increase density either before or after outline consent is granted. Nothing new, just go back to the 2010 DCLG Guidance on Greater Flexibility for Planning Permissions. Barratt obviously wants to build more units where the demand and need is there.
The Housing White Paper is tantalisingly positive in this regard. In particular Barratt will definitely respond positively to paragraph 1.54 which asks for ideas on how planning Policy can increase density. I know already what we will be saying….