The brakes are being taken off urban expansion, after the government confirmed funding to ease over-stretched local resources.

What’s the latest?

Up to 200,000 new homes are set to be built following a multi-million-pound government investment in a range of local projects, including improved drainage, providing new footpaths and even relocating sports facilities.

A total £866m will be given to support council-led projects, paving the way for expansion, and to make housing developments viable.

The money is part of the £5bn 'Housing Infrastructure Fund' that has been set up to increase the speed at which new homes are being constructed, to help alleviate the current housing shortage.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said: “This fund finances vital infrastructure such as roads, schools and bridges, which will kick-start housing development in some of Britain’s highest-demand areas.

Why is this happening?

The government has set a target for 300,000 new homes to be built every year up to the mid-2020s.

But new properties require significant amounts of essential services and resources, such as roads, cycle paths, flood defences, energy and water supply, and land remediation work.

Without financial support to put this in place, many proposed developments would struggle to get off the ground, or it would take years before the building work could begin.

The government’s fund aims to speed up the process by providing high quality infrastructure for new communities.

Who does it affect?

The investment is a positive for 133 councils (marked below) set to receive money to help boost the supply of new homes.

Among the projects highlighted by the Government was Ashton Green in Leicester, where 3,300 homes are in the pipeline following a £10m cash injection for new roads; Botley in Hampshire, where 1,000 properties will now be constructed due to a bypass, and Ilfracombe Southern Extension in Devon, where an additional 750 new homes can be built thanks to funding for a new primary school.

Overall, the move to build 200,000 new homes should help to alleviate some of the current mismatch between supply and demand, relieving the upward pressure on prices and making it easier for first-time buyers to get on to the property ladder, and existing homeowners to trade up it.

Sounds interesting. What’s the background?

The infrastructure fund is just one of a number of government schemes to try to increase the number of properties being built.

Other initiatives include trying to speed up the time taken for planning permission to be obtained, changing regulations to make it easier to convert agricultural or industrial buildings into housing, and providing extra cash for the Home Builders Fund, which helps small developers access finance.

Yet, despite these measures, the government has some way to go to hit its 300,000-a-year target, with just 147,278 new homes completed last year, according to the National House Building Council.

Top 3 takeaways

  • Up to 200,000 new homes are set to be built following a multi-million-pound investment in infrastructure
  • A total £866m will be spent on roads, utilities and other services, to make housing developments viable
  • The money is part of the £5bn Housing Infrastructure Fund to increase the speed at which new homes are built

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