An innovative scheme to encourage more people to self-build their own homes could be trialled in Swansea.
Despite a shortage of affordable housing, the UK has a much lower rate of self-building than many other countries in Europe.
To address this and increase the availability of suitable plots the Welsh Government is launching Self-Build Wales this autumn to eliminate many of the barriers that put people off.
At the core of the scheme is a “plot shop” where local authorities identify potential plots and then make them “oven ready” ensuring all planning and site requirements are in place before they are sold.
The self-builder then chooses which home they wish to build from a pattern book supplied at the time of purchase.
Successful applicants will only need to provide a deposit of 25% of the cost of the plot and the Development Bank of Wales will provide a self-build development loan to cover the balance of the cost of the plot and the full cost of building the property by a contractor that it would need to approve.
There would be no repayments on the loan until the house is completed and mortgaged.
The new home cannot be rented or sold for a minimum of five years post-completion.
At a meeting, last month Swansea Council’s cabinet was asked to agree to take part in a pilot to test the scheme.
Council officers have identified three plots of land that may be potentially suitable to be added to the “plot shop” when it goes live later this year.
Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Homes and Energy, Andrea Lewis, said:
“Self-Build Wales is an exciting and highly innovative new scheme that aims to increase the rate of self-building in Wales to address the shortage of affordable housing.
“The average self-build house in the UK costs 59% of its final value and there are obvious benefits such as a design the homeowner is happy with.
“The scheme has been carefully designed not just to appeal to first-time buyers but to meet the needs of as many people as possible including families in search of a bigger home, people looking to downsize but wanting to stay in their area or those looking for an adapted home.
“Self-Build Wales addresses the barriers many people face to building their own homes which is why I am excited about its potential in Swansea.
“There are also wider community benefits such as bringing derelict land into use and supporting local small building companies and the employment opportunities this creates.
“There could be a potential opportunity for future income generation for the council if this project is successful.”