The provision of new housing in rural Britain has been the result of the private sector activity. Councils, housing associations and other registered social landlords have commissioned new housing but have done little direct building themselves. The structure, conduct and performance of the private housing-building industry hence has a crucial bearing on supply and on supply responsiveness. In both academic and policy commentary, there is criticism of the industry for its way of working and for the quality of its output. However, in particularly thin markets that typify many rural housing systems, there can be constraints on what the builder can provide. This chapter discusses the nature of private house-building in rural areas. It examines the issues of rural housing quality, whether the design is demand responsive and sensitive to local context, and whether rural areas suffer the same variants on standardised housing designs seen in urban and suburban locations. Lastly, the chapter examines the role that self-build or self-directed housing might play in Britain's countrysides.
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