building site construction

Housing shortage encourages developers to look further afield

Land is at a premium across the UK, and housebuilders are having to keep their options open when looking for new sites for their developments.

Data published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) confirms that the number of new homes now being built on previously developed land has decreased by 5% and accounted for 56% of new homes in 2016/2017 compared with 61% in the previous year.

Not surprisingly, all new-build residential housing in London is built on sites where development or buildings have already existed. The lowest recorded numbers across the country for homes being built on previously developed land is in Redditch, registering at 13%, and Milton Keynes and the Vale of White Horse where the figure stands at 14%.

Look at environmental reports before committing

Building on previously developed land is considered not to be without risk. Geoff Offen, managing director at Future Climate Info, said: “These homes could lie on contaminated land, unstable ground or in areas that exceed legal air purity levels. It is important that buyers are informed and take advantage of accessing the detailed environmental reports to consider the risks and follow their advice.”

Interestingly, it seems that more developers are venturing into riskier areas as the research finds that 11% of new homes have been developed on high flood risk land, an increase from 2015/2016 when it stood at 9%.

Geoff Offen added: “Homeowners and buyers should make sure they are aware of the risk involved where homes are built on flood plains and make sure they are prepared for such an eventuality. Our findings show that more than one in 10 new homes were built on sea or river flood plains which are prone to flooding.

“While the national housing shortage compels us to seek out more land across England and Wales to build homes upon, buyers of these new properties must be aware of the risks their new bricks and mortar face.”

“With more granular information available, it’s possible that even more homes may be susceptible to flooding. Our data shows that around one in seven homes in 2016/2017 were at risk of flooding, a figure that climbs to one in three in some urban areas.”

Farmers continue to sell off agricultural land

According to the latest MHCLG research, it seems that farmers and agricultural landowners may feel under pressure and nervous about the impact of Brexit, leading them to sell off land to developers, with 16% of new homes being built on agricultural land.

There was also a rise in the number of new homes on green belt land, accounting for 4% in 2016/2017, a rise of 2%.

The figures reflect the growing awareness and commitment from the government to push on with its target of creating community-led new residential schemes, boosting the amount of affordable homes nationwide and dealing with the UK’s housing shortage.

Self-certified Sophisticated Investor

Please read

I declare that I am a self-certified sophisticated investor for the purposes of the restriction on promotion of non-mainstream pooled investments. I understand that this means:

I am a self-certified sophisticated investor because at least one of the following applies:

I accept that the investments to which the promotions will relate may expose me to a significant risk of losing all of the money or other property invested. I am aware that it is open to me seek advice from someone who specialises in advising on non-mainstream pooled investments.

High Net Worth Investor

Please read

I make this statement so that I can receive promotional communications which are exempt from the restriction on promotion of non-mainstream pooled investments. The exemption relates to certified high net worth investors and I declare that I qualify as such because at least one of the following applies to me:


Sign up for first access to new developments and exclusive property investment opportunities.

We send limited and targeted emails on new launches and exclusive deals which best fit your areas. We are trusted by over 30,000 active buyers as their source for new stock.

  • New property developments
  • Professional market reports
  • Property deal alerts
  • Development updates
Manchester property investment


Receive trending news straight to your inbox and stay up to date on all of the property market trends and advice.

Established since 2005 we are a leading voice of authority and commentary on the UK property market. Our news is trusted by Apple News & Google News.

  • UK housing market
  • Mortgage & money
  • Buy-to-let landlords
  • Guides & advice

Talk to us

Speak to our UK property experts today:


+44 (0) 333 123 0320

Open from 9am-6pm GMT


+852 6699 9008

Open from 9am-6pm HKT