The self-build mortgage market is at last beginning to get more competitive with a larger number of active lenders and a wider range of products than has been available in recent years. Terms are also becoming more flexible, especially on loan to value for land and build. Interest rates are also historically low – although there is a premium on self-build funding during the construction phase, after which it is usually possible to remortgage to a more competitive rate.

For a full table of 26 current lenders follow For anyone with cash or able to raise funds, there has never been a better time to find a building plot. Rather than snapping up every opportunity and landbanking – with a guarantee that property values will always exceed interest rates, many developers are disposing of sites, or unable to bid on sites that come to market due to a lack of development funding. This is creating great opportunities for self-builders. My own recent search of the UK’s leading database of land and renovation opportunities came up 27 potential projects – a few years ago it was difficult to find anything.

Meanwhile, many developers are turning to contracting to remain in business and with less building work around generally, the market is very competitive and margins on contracting are being reduced. The background of high inflation means that materials costs are unfortunately still rising, but labour costs are level and in some areas falling. If you are looking for a builder who wants to find work and may be willing to travel try My Building Project Builder Network

The outlook for the property market remains uncertain in the short term – the real risk is of a second credit squeeze should the European sovereign debt crisis not be resolved, but historically low levels of housebuilding, combined with gradually improving affordability for first time buyers are likely to underpin UK house prices in the future, so for someone looking to create a home as opposed to speculating on house prices, the outlook is positive.

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