The Welsh government has established a loan fund valued at £160 million which will help SME builders in the country and therefore boost house building.
Announced by the Housing and Regeneration Minister, Rebecca Evans, the fund has been created to support SME builders in Wales while simultaneously unlocking stalled construction sites.
Importantly, the Welsh government believes this will help to accelerate house construction in the country – helping to alleviate a shortage seen across the UK.
In 2015, research conducted revealed there were potentially 7,600 homes on approximately 400 building sites across Wales that had stalled for reasons ranging from economic viability to challenges securing funding.
The majority of these sites are tailor-made for SME builders and the sector to deliver. Therefore, funding could help with investment, cash flow, infrastructure improvement and delivery of these projects.
And Ms Evans believes this fund will bring SME builders in Wales back to the forefront of house building.
She said: “We are committed to delivering 20,000 affordable homes in Wales during this term of government, and SME builders are key to helping us achieve this.
“By supporting them to develop more sites, we won’t just be supporting them to increase the supply of housing, but to grow their businesses, support more skilled jobs and contribute to the local economy.
“We know that many SMEs moved away from house building following the recession 10 years ago and have not returned to development. I believe this fund can help them to do this, ensuring a diverse housing sector and more homes being built.”
The Welsh government fund was welcomed by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), who believe it will take away the reliance on large house builders.
However, Ifan Glyn, Director of FMB Cymru, said access to land is also required if SME builders are to thrive.
“In Wales, we need to become less reliant on large house builders to build our way out of the housing shortage and measures such as this are a step in the right direction.
“(However), if the Welsh government wants to meet the ambitious housing targets, it needs to ensure that the long-constrained SME housing sector can once again access viable land, as well as finance.”