• Friday, April 19, 2024

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‘New housing developments must benefit communities’

Summix offers works with local authorities to serve residents’ needs

The UK faces a significant challenge in addressing its growing housing needs

By: Amit Bhatia

THE UK housing crisis, a complex and multifaceted issue, has been decades in the making – primarily caused by a compounding effect of a chronic under-supply of new homes as a result of an extremely hard to navigate planning system, and an ever-increasing demand for homes fuelled by population growth and urbanisation.

Combined, these elements have created an ever-growing divergence between total households (demand) and homes available (supply) – with the widely referenced new homes target of 300,000 per year nearly never been achieved, leading to skyrocketing rents and house prices.

Exacerbated by a system that has for years been resistant to planning applications for new developments, the UK faces a significant challenge in addressing its growing housing needs.

The social and economic ramifications of the housing crisis are uncomfortable to recognise; with soaring house prices creating an inter-generation divide between homeowners (typically, gen-x and boomers aged 44+) and younger renters (typically younger millennials and gen-z) who are unable to reach the first rung of the home-ownership ladder. Among those born in late 1970s, 43 per cent owned their home by age 27. By 2021, homeowners younger than 35 made up only 12 per cent of total homeowners in the UK. The UK now ranks among the lowest in both home ownership and affordability compared to its neighbours.

Summix has been unlocking development sites since 2006, by taking them through the complex planning system and delivering sites to house builders and urban developers. Our unique position, as a solutions provider to the housing crisis by helping to increase housing stock, is broadly agnostic to product type (e.g. houses, apartments, hotels , s t u d e n t accommodation) and location, but rather preferring to work with delivery partners where need is highest – both from an owner/occupier perspective, and where need is recognised by local authorities.

Amit Bhatia

NIMBY-ism “Not In My Back Yard”, after the complex planning system, is the largest blocker to delivering new homes, which is why at Summix we have such a major focus on proactive, community engagement to work with local residents to ensure new developments deliver a wide array of community benefits – not just new homes.

At Summix, our extensive experience in securing planning permissions for new homes means we are acutely aware of the growing ramifications and impacts from the housing crisis, if delivery of new homes doesn’t increase.

However, should more planning applications be approved, there still remains the economic limitations developers face such as higher build costs, higher labour costs, interest rates causing higher development finance costs and also limiting the amount buyers can borrow for their mortgage.

Unfortunately, there is not a “silver bullet” that will solve this crisis over night, but rather a number of factors that need to align/improve which are frequently influenced by politics and policy, which will be focused on in the next article.

 Over the coming months this series of articles will focus on the UK’s housing crisis, and various causes, impacts and solutions which all have major social and economic knockon effects.

Amit Bhatia is a founding partner at Summix Capital. Summix Capital specialises in obtaining planning consents for residential-led mixed use developments to help alleviate the housing crisis across the UK and Ireland. Since 2006 Summix has achieved planning consents for 5700+ homes with another 15,600 homes currently in the planning process.

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