UTB comments on the Federation of Master Builders’ ‘House Builders’ Survey 2017’

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) ‘House Builders’ Survey 2017’, published on the 12th of September 2017, has found that according to SME house builders, a lack of available small sites and a lack of development finance top the list of barriers to delivering new homes.

Noel Meredith, Executive Director of United Trust Bank, comments on the findings of the Federation of Master Builders’ research.

“According to the research, over half of small builders (54%) say accessing finance is a major barrier to their ability to build more homes.

“As someone who leads the development finance division of a successful specialist bank which provides millions of pounds of funding to SME house builders, I find this frustrating. Whilst it’s fair to say that the High Street banks have reduced their appetite for development funding for smaller companies, there is a thriving sector of specialist lenders, United Trust Bank included, with the skills, funds and appetite to help SME house builders acquire and complete smaller residential and mixed use projects.

“If SME house builders look beyond the High Street, or approach one of the many professional brokers helping developers to find and secure competitive funding solutions, I believe they will be surprised at how much choice they have. Yes, relevant experience and a sound financial footing is essential, but house builders who can demonstrate that they have the ability to deliver successful projects and who are proposing well thought through schemes of the right homes, in the right places, and for the right prices should be able to find a supportive finance partner. So far in 2017 United Trust Bank has funded developments with a combined value in the region of £350m and we are keen to increase that figure substantially in 2018.

“SME housebuilders are not building in the volumes they should be and initiatives such as those outlined in the Mayor of London’s recent Housing Strategy for London consultation document, which aim to simplify the planning process on small brownfield sites, should help them to play a bigger role in contributing to the hundreds of thousands of new homes we need to build in the UK over the next few years. If house builders can find suitable sites to develop, lenders like United Trust Bank are ready to provide the funds they need.”