As the new Act became law on 16th May, Housing and Planning Minister Brandon Lewis (right) said, “Our landmark Housing and Planning Act will help anyone who aspires to own their own home achieve their dream.
“It will increase housing supply alongside home ownership building on the biggest affordable house building programme since the 1970s.
“The act will contribute to transforming generation rent into generation buy, helping us towards achieving our ambition of delivering 1 million new homes.”
Let’s hope he is right, because that’s an extremely positive speech at a time when Mark Carney (left), Governor of the Bank of England, is warning of interest rate rises, a technical recession and a collapse in the housing market.
Financial pundits are also warning of dire consequences of a Brexit, which could include redundancies, inflation and plummeting house sales. Even Henry Pryor (right), usually a positive property pundit, is a bit worried, he says. “The next few months will be key for the U.K. housing market. For those who have recently bought hoping prices would rise or thought property was a one-way bet, I expect there will be tears shed.”
Even more worryingly, the usually confident Iain Duncan Smith told the BBC that we should take The BoE Governor’s warning with a ‘pinch of salt.’
He said, “All forecasts in the end are wrong. If anybody can tell me they know what the global economy is going to be doing over the next year let alone next 10 years I have to say they’re either soothsayers or they’ve got some link with God.”
So, in the absence of crystal balls and Tarot cards, we must hope for the best.
The Act, says Brandon Lewis, sets out a “clear determination from the government to keep the country building while giving hard working families every opportunity to unlock the door to home ownership.
“It will give housebuilders and decision-makers the tools and confidence to provide more homes and further streamline the planning system to accelerate their delivery.
The measures include underpinning the voluntary Right to Buy agreement with housing associations, supporting the doubling of the number of custom and self-build homes by 2020, tackling rogue landlords and speeding up the neighbourhood planning process.
In the sales sector, the Act will:
Help more people own their own home; extend Right to Buy level discounts to housing association tenants; promote the development of Starter Homes; get the nation building homes faster; unlock brownfield land to provide homes faster; support custom and self-built homes; ensure that every area has a local plan; reform the compulsory purchase process and speed up neighbourhood planning.
In the rental sector, the Act will:
Ensure the way housing is managed is fair and fit for the future; require social tenants on higher incomes to pay fairer rents; place a duty on councils to consider selling higher value housing assets when they fall vacant; tackle rogue landlords; provide better local information on the PRS – allowing local authorities to access data held by the Tenancy Deposit Protection schemes; reduce the regulatory controls for private registered providers of housing to increase their freedoms to manage their housing stock efficiently and effectively enable lead enforcement authority for estate agents.
Melanie Leech (left), Chief Executive of the British Property Federation, said, “The Housing and Planning Bill set out to provide details on one of the government’s main manifesto commitments and on that front, it delivered.
“The fact that the regulations are still yet to be laid, however, casts into significant doubt whether the government will be able to achieve its promise of 200,000 homes by 2020. The longer the government takes to iron out the details of this policy, the more that target slips into the distance. Spades are not likely to be in the ground until 2017 at the earliest, and time is certainly running out.”
You can read more about the Housing and Planning Bill at: www.gov.uk/government/news/landmark-housing-and-planning-bill-receives-royal-assent