The government has charged the UK housing industry with not only building more new homes but making them greener.
It's a challenge the industry is determined to meet, with the recently formed Building Back Britain Commission spearheading the thinking.
The new independent industry group aims to produce fresh ideas to help deliver on the government's dual aims of building 300,000 homes a year while reducing emissions from housing stock.
Some big hitters have joined the Commission, including Barratt ceo @David Thomas and NHBC ceo @Steve Wood @Steve Wood. Trade bodies including the @Home Builders Federation, @Joseph Rowntree Foundation, @RIBA and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives are also on board, forming an advisory group to submit ideas and data to the Commission.
The group will submit two reports this year and I for one can't wait to read them.
The first is due this autumn and will demonstrate the value of housing to the economic recovery.
The second will explore how the housing sector can work with consumers and the government to help decarbonise homes. This will be published ahead of the COP26 Summit in Glasgow in November this year.
As far as the delivery of new homes is concerned, housebuilders have not been slacking. According to the latest stats from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for England, just shy of 50,000 new homes were built in the first three months of this year - the highest quarterly figure for more than 20 years.
Housing starts during the first quarter were also the highest since 2007, at 46,010.
All this has been achieved against the difficult backdrop of the pandemic, so hats off to Britain's housebuilders.
At Secure Trust Bank Real Estate Finance we believe funding is one way of driving demand for new, energy efficient homes and have first-hand evidence of the industry's appetite. We provide loans from £1m-£45m to the residential sector and earlier this year launched our Greener Homes loan scheme. This incentivises investors to purchase new and existing stock with better efficiency ratings, by offering more competitive rates. This should help deliver more new homes, reducing housing emissions at the same time.
Our Greener Homes scheme was over-subscribed within a matter of weeks, showing the demand for such green financing initiatives. As a bank we may not be in the front line when it comes to delivering new homes, but we've certainly got the back of the industry's SME developers and investors.