Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud says struggling first-time buyers should 'move to Germany'

 (Channel 4)
(Channel 4)

Television star Kevin McCloud says that first-time buyers struggling to get on the housing ladder should “move to Germany”.

The Grand Designs presenter said their state funding models and strong building culture have helped boost the housing market.

He told the Standard as part of a wide-ranging interview: “They have a culture where building is considered a hugely important skill in society. Builders and carpenters train for three years to become apprentices. It’s like doing a degree.”

He added: “Anybody in the UK can set themselves up as a builder, you don’t need any formal qualification. It’s outrageous.

“…In our pursuit of the purely contractual and beleaguered construction generally, we’ve forgotten how important it is that people want to use their hands and their brains to do things, to make things.”

The average house price in the UK in January was £281,913, according to the UK House Price Index, a rise of 0.5 per cent on December 2023.

In London, the average house price is £730,885, according to the property portal Rightmove.

The most expensive area in which to buy is the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, where the average price is £1.2million.

German house prices fell by 10.2 per cent in the third quarter of last year, marking the largest decline on record, amid a European housing crisis. By year-end, the German house price index, benchmarked to 2015 prices, was at 145.5 per cent, indicating that a house valued at €250,000 in 2015 would now be worth €363,750.

McCloud called for the UK to adopt a healthier attitude to homes that isn’t obsessed with ownership.

“In Germany, social housing isn’t stigmatized,” he says. “It’s only in the UK that we had this strange Thatcherite notion that if you don’t own your home, you’re not part of a progressive and forward-thinking world of investment and self-improvement.”

“We have a poisonous culture in housing delivery and in our social housing programs. It’s hollowed out and it’s a great shame,” said McCloud.

“I get so angry, not because I’m so anti what happens here, but because I see what happens in Sweden and in Denmark and in Germany and in Belgium and in Austria, where 86 per cent of all new homes are custom or self-built.”