As we return from the Easter break, one story that slipped through the net at the end of quarter one was the report from the Resolution Foundation think tank, outlining how UK housing is now the "worst value for money of any advanced economy." This isn't a particularly noteworthy achievement as far as achievements go; however, if you drill down into the report, it's clear that the emphasis on increasing quality as part of the broader housing challenge can be sufficiently met by the legions of smaller developers our asset class brings to the market.

So, surveying the damage, the critical points raised in the findings suggest "cramped and ageing" were two of the main issues when comparing our current stock levels to the other 37 industrialised nations canvassed, the main issue being that 38% of UK stock was built before 1946 which means that insulation, dampness, and poor energy bills are issues. This also highlights the complexity of the problem with housing; the mantra has been to build to bolster supply; however, "build and repair" may become the new focus of the next Parliament; filling up a bucket of water is easier if first we address the holes.

So, to tenuously link this to a solution we can be part of, one of the significant challenges of the market is that at the last count in January 2024, there were 2460 active house builders and residential property developers in the UK—we believe that increasing that number is the solution to unlocking some of these problems. There are challenges that the industrial complex of the Super Eight can't or won't tackle when it comes to home building, and we believe that smaller, more progressive, and innovative homebuilder businesses, the type of entities our industry supports, are the best placed to tackle these challenges. This may be opening hived-off sections of brownfield land, dealing with planning situations that require the gentle touch of local knowledge, or just being a local business that has a vested interest in dealing with regional challenges; all these specialist viewpoints can be lost when looking through the prism of a PLC. It's a simple fact of business that more prominent developers will overlook smaller patches of land because, on a cost basis, it makes more sense to develop at scale, their objectives are much larger, and with an outlay for fees and acquisition costs, it's not cost-effective if your building thousands of houses to bog down in planning litigation over sites fit for twenty units. Smaller developers can take on those challenges with the proper financial support, and that's why providing that liquidity to that market is vital.

Unlocking regional bureaucracy has been a central political football when it comes to home building, and we have created a divisive binary situation where people worried about their communities are being branded as NIMBYs somehow standing in the way of progress by the broader media when we all know it's substantial more complicated than that. Look at that 2460 figure as 2460 fantastic local businesses with owners rooted in 2460 local communities who possibly understand these issues and can unlock them with a lighter and more persuasive touch.

One of the other elements of the report, and something that Michael Gove referenced previously when he made his now infamous "Let's have beautiful buildings" comment, is the need to create better quality housing, both practically and aesthetically. When that comment was made, there was an instant murmuring from the social media gallery as to the eye of which beholder was being referenced here; after all, one person's St Paul's Cathedral is another person's tenement block; beauty is deeply personal. However, the sentiment was entirely correct; the importance of building aesthetically pleasing environments is fundamentally significant to everything from mental health to community cohesion, environments impact behaviours, and being able to create quality housing stock that means something visually will be driven primarily by the SME sector.

All homebuilders have a base level of intrinsic pride in what they build, or at least they should. Still, market forces will dictate that smaller property developers will have to place a greater emphasis on the aesthetic and design when building standard residential stock to command their market share; they have a greater need to be bolder with design to go that extra step, they understand what works in their communities, and they will accommodate given adequate chance.

Invest & Fund has returned over £200 million of capital and interest to lenders with zero losses, showing the rigour that governs our business.

To take maximum advantage of this robust and exciting asset class, please visit or contact Shaheel at

Don't invest unless you're prepared to lose money. This is a high-risk investment. You may not be able to access your money easily and are unlikely to be protected if something goes wrong. Take 2 minutes to learn more