The Funding for Lending scheme has ended early for home loans. A move that has been taken to prevent a potential housing bubble. Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, acknowledged in an interview with the Guardian there is a large supply issue and more credit isn’t going to solve our problems.
He [Carney] said that Britain was building half as many homes a year as Canada despite having a population twice as large, and added: It is widely acknowledged that there is a very large supply-side issue here. I fully recognise that Canada is the second-biggest country in the world. It’s easy to build housing as it’s easy to find places [to build]. But it does give you a sense of the issues around the constraints on supply and the movements in prices you see as well. They all reinforce that sense that there is a supply issue. And there’s nothing the Bank of England can do to change that.
This move makes a lot of sense. We need government and banks to make incentives in the right place, not help fuel demand that cannot be met.
Everyone recognises that housing supply is an issue. Land supply is part of that issue too. We need to make sure the right incentives are in place for an active and transparent land market. We also need citizens to look at the land around them and question why that land isn’t being used for housing.
Land Wiki is a tool for citizens to help identify plots of land that can be better used. Anyone will be able to contribute to the data. We’re doing this so citizens can be part of the solution having data and tools to make better decisions.
One of the goals of Land Wiki is to support custom build. Finding an appropriate plot of land is the first stumbling block for custom builders. Councils are the natural first point of contact for people, so what are they doing to help?
Councils in England are required to provide a local plan that addresses the needs of local people, including those wishing to build their own homes. It’s part of the National Planning Policy Framework.
The UK Government has many databases relating to land use information and many government organisations that look after them. The DCLG created a map displaying all assets owned by the UK Government. That project no longer exists. I can only guess because of budget cuts. Collating all of that data from so many public bodies is a difficult task and keeping it up to date is even harder.
Let’s take a look at the major data-sets available for land that is potentially available land for development.
National Land Use Database of Previously Developed Land (NLUD-PDL)
It’s a large database of around 23,000 brownfield sites across England published by the Homes & Communities Agency. Shame latest site data is from 2009.
Land Registry – Land Sale Prices
The Land Registry keeps the official records for land ownership in the UK. The Land Registry publishes a lot of open data. This data is incredibly useful for gaining insight into the housing market. The Land Registry decided to publish price paid data for residential property sales, but decided not to do the same for land sales. Why? Having the same data for land would increase transparency like it has done in the property industry. Read our campaign.
Each council in the UK is required by law to have a Local Plan, as part of that site allocations is an important document. Site allocation documents are published on each councils respective websites. Information about the status of each site is not easy to find.
So that’s a lot of data, none of which is up-to-date and easily accessible.
In order to get some or all of this data on the map, we’re going to be talking with various organisations to open up data and try and keep it up-to-date. We’ve set-up data campaigns so you can keep track of our progress.
Have I missed a useful open data-set? Tweet us or write a comment below.