Buyer demand for homes in England has hit its lowest recorded levels since 2015, according to the latest House Builders’ Survey from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
Demand is at its lowest level since 2015, when the survey began recording this data, with an average score of 1.99 out of five.
The survey also ranked the planning system as the top major barrier holding back the delivery of new homes at 55%, while 51% of members highlighted issues with mortgage availability.
Lack of available land and material costs were the third and fourth largest barriers.
Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said the survey shows the housing market for smaller house builders is in an increasingly difficult place.
He said: “The planning system tops the list of major barriers stopping small builders from delivering new homes. While the impending rise in planning fees may help in the short term to prop up struggling planning teams, there are fundamental issues at play.
|For small builders the survey is clear that the system is too complex and costly. Communication from local planning authorities is also poor. Without changing this, planning issues are likely to loom large as a barrier for some time. Lack of available land is also frustrating small builders and without proper incentives for local authorities to promote small sites it seems unlikely there will be much change.
“The economic landscape is also affecting small builders. Restricted access to mortgages has become the second biggest barrier. This issue has seen a rapid rise over the last two years, reflecting the devastating impact the wider economy can have on the small house builders. With many consumers choosing not to take out mortgages it would appear the market is only getting smaller, resulting in less homes being built.”