British Government Addresses Housing Crisis: Showing Strong Support To Build and Finance 100,000 Modular Homes

perhaps our Federal Government should take note.

As we’ve stated more than once in the recent past, the United States has a serious housing crisis. Primarily  precipitated by our limited supply, high prices, and lack of financing opportunities for middle and lower income Americans. And, ultimately perpetuated by the feds excessive regulations and bureaucratic apathy, with no apparent coherent plan or path to rectify or lessen the crisis.

Like us, the United Kingdom also has a serious housing crisis caused by lack of supply, due to a limited workforce and lack of financing opportunities for their underclass. So, what’s the difference between us and them?  Their Parliament has a plan to tackle the housing crisis, ironically utilizing housing forms created in the USA, factory built housing. Also known as prefabricated, manufactured, modular and system built homes.

Here at MFH, we have recently posted a report about the emerging pre-fab trend in the U.K. Spotlighting plans of Legal and General (L&G) to open a giant manufacturing facility capable of producing 3,000 to 4,000 homes per year, in an effort to help relieve the U.K. housing shortage. Joined by Caledonian Modular, a subsidiary of Champion Homes, and a major U.S. manufacturer of prefabricated housing is consolidating operations into a larger facility in Great Britain to double its production of their modular units.

British housing crisis

(Infographic courtesy of Huffington Post)

British housing crisis

According to the UK’s Daily Mail, housing studies indicate the UK needs approximately 250,000 new housing units per year, with only 100,000 homes being produced by site builders. Working to address the already dramatic housing shortage, the right and honorable ministers of the UK are planning on taking the fiscally responsible option for addressing this national housing crisis. In a white paper to be released later this month, England’s leaders will disclose their plan to build 100,000 modular homes to help tackle the U.K.housing crisis. The plan will include measures encouraging banks to lend to off-site builders and convincing risk-averse lenders to provide more lending options.

The ministers have reportedly been impressed with construction speeds of the latest prefabs, with some on-site in just 48 hours. Gary Barwell, the housing minister said:

“Offsite construction could provide a huge opportunity to increase housing supply and we want to see more innovation like this emulated across the homebuilding sector.”

Some of the more curious ministers have visited Accord Group, a housing association in the West Midlands which asserts it can construct a three bedroom prefabricated house “from scratch” in a day at its factory … and were reportedly mostly pleased. 

united_kingdom_housing_crisisBritish housing solution

BSRIA (Building Service Research and Information Association) in support of Monday’s announcement that “volumetric off-site construction” homes will be built to meet the housing crisis wherein 1,000,000 new homes are needed in the U.K. by 2020, according to an online magazine, Building Products.

Lynne Ceeney, Technical Director, BSRIA, said:

“It is good to see the industry taking steps towards off-site and advanced manufacturing techniques. As well as providing more housing, off-site manufacture can provide better working conditions for construction workers, shorter time on site, and improved environmental performance in the construction process. Since the construction is more standardized and controlled than on-site construction, it enables innovative techniques to be rolled out more quickly.”

MFH Notes : The British “all in” approach of utilizing factory built housing is a template that the U.S. should strongly consider. As rates continue to skyrocket from coast-to-coast, there is little doubt prefabricated housing would likely solve many of the issues that have proven to be impediments to an improving economy.

At the core of the housing crisis in Great Britain, is the lack of workforce and production capacity. Up to 40% of the construction jobs in the U.K. are imported from mainland Europe and/or refugee immigrants via the European Union. In the aftermath of Brexit those foreign workers have been dramatically depleted.

To achieve the stated UK production goals will require a large investment in manufactured housing infrastructure including, building facilities and experienced manpower. No doubt the British production goals are realistic, but starting virtually from scratch could seriously delay the efficient execution of those optimistic plans.

In the U.S., the manufactured housing industry is more seasoned with 100’s of building facilities in every region of the country. Staffed by skilled craftsmen and a stable workforce that could be expanded to include many American workers desperately in need of employment. The in-place building capacity of the factory built housing industry has unlimited capacity.

Hopefully, our government will soon take note and the necessary actions needed to unleash the American free enterprise system. Putting the U.S. on a fast track towards solving our affordable housing crisis and improving our sluggish economy. And, most importantly, allowing our middle and lower income families realize the uniquely American dream of home ownership.

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