Living the dream

self build home

Many people in the UK dream about building their own home, but only a small minority are able to realise that dream. There are numerous reasons for this, including lack of expertise, lack of support and a shortage of affordable mortgages. A brand new mortgage scheme however, makes self-build lending as easy as new-build lending.

Combining expertise and resources, the Custom and Self-build (CSB) Mortgage Scheme helps local authorities to meet the expectations of people who would like to build their own home locally.

The CSB Mortgage Scheme is a partnership between participating local authorities and mortgage lenders, first piloted by Cherwell District Council in partnership with Ipswich Building Society and Ecology Building Society in May 2018. It is mainly aimed at development on council-owned land, but it can also be applied to land held by a housing company, registered provider or a private sector developer.  


The CSB Mortgage Scheme provides up to 95% Loan to Value mortgages for custom and self-build projects without the need for stage payments, so in terms of mortgages, it makes custom and self-build lending as straightforward as new build mortgage lending.  

Applicants only need a 5% deposit and a firm mortgage offer from a participating lender, the participating local authority provides the development finance to build the property to completion. On build completion, the pre-approved mortgage is completed and the local authority will recover all costs plus interest via the mortgage.  

The local authority will provide an indemnity for up to 20% of the mortgage (the difference between 75% Loan to Value and up to 95% Loan to Value), which remains in place for five years. This may be extended to seven years if there are mortgage arrears of three months plus in the last six months of the initial five-year period. A national standard indemnity deed is available for local authorities and lenders.


The CSB Mortgage Scheme operates via nomination from the participating local authority, and local connections criteria will usually apply. Based on local property prices, there will be a maximum limit per mortgage. Mortgage lenders will apply their usual lending criteria, including credit, affordability and verification checks. Mortgages are subject to off-plan valuations and a final valuation on completion. The build process will be subject to the usual Building Control quality and compliance checks, but there is no need for separate valuations at each stage as lenders do not provide stage payments.

The pilot will initially support 4-5 local individuals or families, and the Council has made £2.5m available to deliver the pilot. Additional funds may be allocated if the pilot is delivered successfully.

The benefits

The Custom and Self-build (CSB) Mortgage Scheme was developed to support local authorities in meeting the legislative requirements of the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015 (as amended by the Housing and Planning Act 2016) and the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding (Time for Compliance and Fees) Regulations 2016.  

Benefits for the local authority include: 

  • The CSB Mortgage Scheme helps local authorities to meet the custom and self-build legislation by removing some of the key risks.
  • When making land available for custom and self-build development, the local authority will have a customer with a 5% deposit and a pre-approved mortgage in place from the outset.
  • As the local authority provides the development finance, there is no need for lenders to make stage payments, making self-build lending more attractive and less costly.
  • The customer benefits from support from the local authority and can, therefore, access mortgage finance for the custom/self-build project with a deposit of only 5%.
  • The local authority receives interest on the development funding 

Case study: Graven Hill


Those with a local connection to Cherwell district can apply for the CSB Mortgage Scheme and access the opportunity to build their own home at Graven Hill, the UK’s largest self-build and custom build site. Over 10 years, a community filled with 1,900 unique homes, a primary school, community centre and local amenities, including shops, cafes and a local pub, will be built on the site. Graven Hill is revolutionising custom build with a unique product called Mix and Match, which is designed to offer reassurance on cost while still giving design flexibility.

Five steps to your dream home

These five simple steps will take you to your dream home at Graven Hill.

  1. Talk to the sales team who can show you which of the Mix and Match plots are available
  2. Decide which of the designs you prefer and you will be able to see:
    • The land price
    • The cost of the Golden Brick foundations
    • The price of the house - bespoke finishes can be negotiated directly with the supplier 
  3. Reserve your plot and Golden Brick foundations
  4. Confirm your requirements and your chosen supplier
  5. Exchange and complete on your plot, and start building!



Cecilie Booth, Director at CBB Consultancy Services Ltd.

For further information telephone 07970 325557 or email: [email protected].