If the expected Conservative victory on June 8th materialises then what should the property industry look forward to (or not) from a renewed Tory administration?
The question was answered comprehensively today after Theresa May launched the Conservative Party manifesto, several pages of which are dedicated to the housing market.
In summary, the Tories today promised a 12-point property plan, some details of which was specific, others which were not:
- Reform and modernise the home buying process so it is more efficient and less costly.
- Crackdown on unfair practices in leasehold, such as escalating ground rents.
- Improve protections for those who rent, and look at how to increase security for good tenants and how to encourage landlords to offer longer tenancies as standard.
- Fix the dysfunctional housing market so that homes are more affordable, and that there are enough homes built to meet demand.
- Bring the cost of renting of down by securing more homes available to rent – a veiled reference to Build to Rent.
- Support specifically the building of mansion blocks, mews houses and terraced streets – i.e. high quality but high density housing.
- Build 160,000 homes on government land.
- Introduce a £23bn National Productivity Fund which will in part target housing; part of the Tory’s ‘modern industrial strategy’ idea.
- Increase train services on main lines and commuter routes and launch new services to places which are poorly served or host major new housing projects.
- Launch a new scheme that will link fixed-term tenancy council housing to Right to Buy.
- Diversity who builds homes in the UK – by backing and increase in the number of SME building firms, as highlighted in its recent Housing White Paper.
- Increase the quality of homes being built to buy and rent.
When launching the Conservative Party Manifesto earlier today, Theresa may said, “So I offer myself as your Prime Minister… confident in the belief that we have the vision, the plan and the will to use this moment to build a better Britain… the chance to own a home and more affordable housing”.
David Cox, Chief Executive of ARLA Propertymark, commenting on the manifestos from the three main parties, said, “The housing market is in crisis. We are simply not building enough homes to meet the demand from both the private rented and sales sectors. We are concerned that housing has become a political football for future governments to score points against each other and this is getting in the way of actually ensuring we have the right sort of houses available, in the right areas, across all tenures, to provide the homes that people need.
“Only 32,000 affordable homes were built in 2016, which hasn’t made a dent; although the parties are pledging to build hundreds of thousands of new homes, we need to seriously consider if such pledges are even remotely practically possible. As we have said many times, we need to take the politics out of housing and consider other ways to ease the pressure on housebuilding that will allow us to provide a more accessible and affordable housing market for all.”