A leading industry commentator and past president of the NAEA has written to the new housing minister Alok Sharma (pictured, below) outlining his concern about the state of the property market and the government’s stalled attempts to tackle it.
Within the letter Simon Gerrard (pictured, right), who runs north London agency Martyn Gerrard, accuses Theresa May’s government of not taking housing seriously.
He also says the recent “toothless” White Paper is another example of the many speeches and papers in recent years that have come to nothing.
“Whilst [the White Paper] made the right noises, a lack of active and transformative policy means we cannot fight the growing challenges facing our housing market,” the letter says.
Simon’s missive comes just days after the Housing minister made his first major industry speech at the Resi 2017 conference at the Celtic Manor hotel in Wales, at which he promised to turn the White Paper “into action”.
But Simon says that despite the Minister’s promises, he fears the government demonstrates a chronic lack of understanding of the market, and how to effectively fix it and that like many of his predecessors, Alok is good at producing sound bites, but not tangible actions.
“I meet so many people at a loss because either they cannot afford to move up the ladder or they cannot afford the space they need to live – it is without a doubt the crisis of our time,” he says.
Simon suggests two key policies within his letter, both of which he believes would relieve many of the pain points in the “broken” housing market.
The first is to bring in a temporary Capital Gains Tax moratorium to encourage land owners to sell land and jump-start a new wave of house building, and secondly to make Stamp Duty payable by those selling, not buying properties.
“This would enable both first time buyers and those aspiring to move up the ladder,” he says.
Simon signs off the letter by inviting Alok to work with him to implement his ‘two-pronged’ approach. No answer from the Minister has been forthcoming yet.