It is undeniable that access to land for self building remains one of the most significant barriers to selfbuild in Britain, alongside planning and finance. Simply put, potential selfbuilders report that it is difficult to find out what land is available and who owns it.
This problem has deep and complex structural and historical roots that need to be properly understood. As one architect explained to me, the problem with land in Britain precisely derives from historical patterns of ownership, where a small number of people and institutions owned all the land. But more than this it becomes abundantly clear that we can’t understand self build in Britain without looking towards the land market and its intersections with other markets and fields. There is undoubtedly much work to be done to understand these relationships.
The argument put forward by the author is that the crisis in the land supply is generated by the land market should be recognised as being at the root of the housing crisis. At my recent presentation, Creating a nation of selfbuilders, one of the most debated topics among participants was precisely land. Although everybody agreed that land supply was problematic to the development of self build in Britain there were clear differences of opinion about how the land market operated. My conclusion was that very few people have a good and clear grasp of the operations of the land market. I am hoping to develop a better understanding myself, although this will take time.
For the moment, I think that the following blog post written by @tobylloyd taken from the LSE politics and policy blog presents an understanding of the land market that can serve as a starting point into developing an understanding of what is undoubtedly a complicated issue.