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Up To 2 Million New Homes Could Be Built On Government Land

According to property services firm Savills, the sale of of government land could lead to 2 million new homes being built across the country, using £370 billion of government estate. 100,000 of these would come from land belonging to Greater London Authority.

The government has pledged to release enough of this land to build 100,000 new homes between 2011-2015. So far it has only released land capable of holding 68,000 of them.

Vast Potential

For the research, Savills searched a database of 250,000 hectares of government land assets, and found an exceptional amount of suitable land for homebuilding. The search didn't include land such as national parks, national heritage sites, and green belt sites which are "unlikely to come forward", to reduce the amount of land which would never be built on.

Currently, there is a lack of information available on government land assets, which would allow us to determine how much of the land is suitable for homebuilding. Because of this, Savills used market knowledge to determine a best estimate for the number of homes that could be built on the land where there isn't information available. For example, through reconfiguration and intensification of sites within the NHS estate, Savills estimate 300,000 homes could be built.

Tapping The Potential

The Infrastructure Bill currently going through parliament would allow the secretary of state to grant consent to local authorities to dispose of land for less than 'best consideration', meaning that they don't need to sell the land to the best bidder. Savills state that this could help streamline the disposal of property and facilitate more housebuilding. However, they state that "it remains to be seen if the proposals will be fully utilised by all public sector bodies."

"The government has made serious commitments in relation to the issues first time buyers face. An increase in supply, such as proposed by Savills would keep house prices in check, and help prevent a generation being priced out of home ownership." said a Commercial Property Solicitor at SM Commercial.

Alex Dawson, Savills Head of Public Sector Consultancy stated, "This will need clarity from the Government that all gains from land disposal will benefit the property seller and not be paid into the Treasury coffers."

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Dated: 24/11/2014

Author: Greg Cox

New builds, homebuilding

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