Yorkshire and the Humber: building a sustainable future through housing
As part of The Big Conversation, we ran a series of virtual events to explore the best road to recovery for regions across the UK.
On 22 October 2020, stakeholders from Yorkshire and the Humber gathered as part of Lloyds Banking Group’s Big Conversation to discuss the challenges, opportunities and critical areas of support needed to make the housing market accessible to everyone, and ensure the housing sector can play a part in the sustainable recovery in the region.
The key issues discussed were:
- Lack of affordable housing is the main barrier to growth in the sector.
- Restrictive regulation and planning rules prohibit construction at the pace and in the areas where required.
- Retrofitting will create jobs in local areas, but there needs to be a framework to support it.
- Demand-side financial support measures can help address affordability.
- Greater public-private collaboration and policy reforms are needed to support growth of affordable housing.
- Incentives and investment in skills can help support the move to sustainable housing.
Catherine Rutter, Lloyds Banking Group, Ambassador for Yorkshire and the Humber
Kevin Hollinrake MP, Thirsk and Malton
Andrew Weaver, Strata Homes, CEO
Andy Mason, Lloyds Banking Group, Head of Customer Development - Mortgages
Colin Bennett, Housing Growth Partnership, Investment Director
Jonny Webb, Institute of Public Policy Research, Research Fellow - Housing
Karen Brown, Northern Housing Consortium, Senior Policy Advisor
Ornella Luorio, University of Leeds, Professor of Architecture
Steve Harris, Lloyds Banking Group, Regional Manager - Yorkshire and the Humber
Tim Swift, Calderdale Council, Leader
Watch the event highlights
Challenges and opportunities
Lack of affordable housing is the main barrier to growth in the sector.
- Affordability of housing for those on low incomes and for first time buyers is a significant barrier to recovery in the region.
- A lack of social housing is restricting supply, and the growth of house prices relative to wage inflation over the last 5 years has put homes further out of reach for lower income earners and first time buyers.
Restrictive regulation and planning rules prohibit construction where it is most needed.
- Short-term planning driven by political cycles fails to attract investment and benefits larger housebuilders over SME builders, which are needed to ramp up the supply of affordable housing.
Retrofitting will create jobs in local areas, but there needs to be a framework to support it.
- 200,000 houses in the North require retrofitting each year, but skills and jobs do not exist to support this transformation.
- There is little financial incentives for homeowners to undertake retrofitting as the high costs currently outweigh future savings from energy efficiency.
"The number one issue is affordability of housing for those on lower incomes and those trying to get on the housing ladder."
Kevin Hollinrake MP
Solutions to support housing growth
Demand-side financial support measures can help address affordability.
- Phasing out the Help-to-Buy scheme with a government backed mortgage guarantee for high loan-to-value lending, extending stamp duty exemption, and highlighting the benefits of shared ownership will help first time buyers.
"We need support for customers on the demand side. Shared ownership is a good approach. Visibility on lending would help address affordability."
Andrew Weaver, Strata Homes
Greater public-private collaboration and regulatory reforms are needed to support growth of affordable housing.
- Improving private-public partnerships is seen as key to delivering the necessary finance for SME builders - LBG’s ‘Housing Growth Partnership’ joint venture with Homes for England is an example of this in practice.
- Adopting a longer-term planning approach and reforms to land and zoning systems will allow for more construction by SMEs.
Incentives and investment in skills can help support the move to sustainable housing.
- Investment in skills is seen as key in developing the infrastructure needed for retrofitting at a mass scale.
- Incentives such as extending the Green Homes Grant, tax rebates and new products such as green mortgages can help boost the uptake of retrofitting among homeowners.