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27 January 2011 | PR 11/06

Sustainable housing indicates way forward for first time buyers

First time buyers could benefit if the Government and construction industry look to more innovative ways of producing affordable and sustainably produced and run homes, suggests a Loughborough University study.

The research has been conducted to look into sustainable and cost effective solutions to alleviate the UK’s growing housing crisis where, according to current construction figures, there is an annual deficit of around 80,000 homes being built, with the need to build more new homes now critical. Dr Chris Goodier from the University’s Department of Civil and Building Engineering has produced the report into UK house-building, which was commissioned by the RICS and looks into the future of house-building over the next 10 to 20 years.

Dr Goodier explains: “We need to look at solutions to this issue and the way forward is to search for designs which are of high quality, cost effective and sustainable. One of the biggest issues facing the construction industry is generating affordable housing of sufficient quantity and quality for first time buyers and local authorities.

“UK house-building has long been associated with expensive, time consuming methods and can mean that environmental standards are sometimes difficult to maintain. More innovative, modern off-site and modular designs are not only extremely cost effective, but can be constructed with relative ease in a much shorter period of time.”

Previously getting a mortgage on such a property had proved problematic but according to Dr Goodier times are changing. “Many major mortgage providers are already willing to lend against these structures, meaning that first time buyers could find them a highly practical way of getting onto the property ladder.

“The Government and construction industry need to consider innovative alternatives to development as without them problems such as overcrowding, undersupply and unaffordable housing seem set to continue.”

Dr Goodier also highlights the importance of creating more sustainable homes if targets are to be met of a 34 per cent reduction in UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, although this needs to be addressed in collaboration with the renovation and modernisation of existing homes and buildings.

And while the buyers are the obvious beneficiaries of the new building methods, Dr Goodier also adds that the house-building sector itself could benefit enormously, although he states it needs to “better prepare for its own future, through the creation of a more informed and forward-thinking industry”.

“One issue is clear,” says Dr Goodier. “Homes in the future need to be adaptable to changing ways of living, working and operating. Homes must be able to accommodate varied family configurations over time and to easily reflect changing requirements and priorities of the inhabitants. Increasingly we are seeing blurred boundaries between home and work and the complexity of peoples’ lives means that future homes will need to imitate this fluidity and be adaptable.”

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Debbie Hughes
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697
E: D.L.Hughes@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

  1. The report was commissioned by the RICS and a full copy of the report can be viewed at http://www.rics.org/site/download_feed.aspx?fileID=8638&fileExtension=PDF

  2. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

    It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2010 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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