General Election

With the General Election in sight, its only right to look at the plans for housing. This has been a major topic discussed at length, with all main parties announcing various pledges in their manifestos. But other than the battle to become the next resident at number 10, what does this all mean for us?
Land and property experts are saying that it’s not right to buy or help for first time buyers that is needed, it’s in fact the supply of land. Land that could hold thousands of new homes to meet the chronic shortage of houses that we are facing.

The subject was addressed at the Council of Mortgage Annual luncheon, where it was discussed how the next government could deliver the housing needs that the country requires. Dame Kate Barker, the author of two influential reports on housing supply and planning was a guest speaker at the event. She told delegates that although improvements had been made to the planning system, the biggest opposition comes from locals who don’t want development in their area.

She also highlighted that a key step would be to gain early momentum in getting the new annual housing supply up over 200,000 by 2020. This would mean bringing forward public land and stopping the planning system suppressing the market.

Previous governments have clearly tried to address the fundamental problem of housing supply, but have not fully succeeded. Over the next twenty years an average 240,000 homes are required in the UK, new builds have been running in the low 100,000’s for the last ten years. As a nation we would need to go back to the statistics from the 1970’s to see house building at the rate of which we need it now.

Countrywide plc have been heavily focussed on a healthier UK property market, a research paper has been launched outlining 10 recommendations on how this can be achieved, to read the full paper click here.

So what do the political parties have to say about the countries current housing issues?

Labour:

Their main pledge is to increase house building to 200,000 homes a year by 2020. How? By planning to require that the money Help to Buy ISAs is invested in building.

Conservatives:

They have promised to extend the Right to Buy scheme to those living in housing association homes, up to 1.3 million people. Also a commitment to 200,000 starter homes for first time buyers under the age of 40.

The Liberal Democrats:

Have promised to build 10 new Garden Cities and have pledged to build 300,000 new energy efficient homes a year, there is no mention of how the planning system will be amended to allow this to go ahead.

What is evidently clear is that more supply is needed to meet demand! Whilst the demand remains high we will continue to see increasing house prices.

UKIP:

Have included a commitment to bring empty properties back into use with their broader housing and planning strategy. The use of brownfield sites to build 2.5 million houses taking advantage of this rich source of derelict land.

Green:

The green party are pledging to build 500,000 social rental homes by 2020, abolish the right to buy your council property and cap rent on properties by introducing 5 year tenancy agreements.