Property Market Comment

The Housing White Paper by Richard Kemp

SO AFTER quite an action packed 2016, I think it’s safe to say we are all glad of a quieter start to the year.

Last year’s events are still on our minds and another announcement has been made on February 7, to affect our housing market in the form of the government housing white paper.

This paper is set to reform the housing market and increase the supply of new homes or “fixing our broken housing market” as also titled.

The main agenda of the paper is addressing our current housing shortage with boosting supply of new homes with measures such as right homes in the right places and building homes faster.

'Cutting red tape' seems to be the overall feeling in allowing local authorities to meet demand for housing by producing their own plans for their governed areas.

Cutting approval for planning permission from three down to two years is also another proposal.

Protecting green belts seemed to be still a priority, but the freeing up of brownfield or previously used land being a stronger focus in facilitating house building and development.

The ‘first time buyer’ sector has not had much focus despite a record number of first time buyers purchasing property at the end of last year.

Government mainly reiterated current plans in place to help, but one change which may be useful is for buyers earning less than £80,000 per year being eligible for a 20 per cent discount on new-builds.

These houses will be available in specific areas across the country on homes up to the value of £250,000 outside of London, and up to £450,000 inside the capital.

One of the big focuses was on the private rental sector which has nearly doubled in the last ten years.

This has grown increasingly due to both house prices rising beyond affordability, and renting become a lifestyle choice for some.

With such a large proportion of households renting, the demand for homes fit for renting has been highlighted.

The white paper has mentioned the “Build to Rent” scheme which was started in the 1920s, but now seems to be resurrected.

Large development sites which may normally be targeted for sale purposes will be more focused on investment instead allowing housing to be turned straight over to the rental sector.

This initiative is proposed to increase the overall quality of rental properties available whilst also meeting demand.

This paper is very much how the government plans to tackle the issues our housing market faces.

How these changes will be implemented in practice is yet to be completely decided.

Careful progressing with local authorities being adaptive and aware of their individual areas will allow these changes to be beneficial towards housing demand and supply.

The market could be affected one way or another from the outcome of 2016 as we are still yet to see how Brexit affects the housing market.

But for now, the winter chill has lifted (in the housing market at least!), and we are preparing for one of our busiest periods in the year - spring.

If you were thinking of selling, now is a great time to do so, so please call Richard or one of the team at Bennett Jones Partnership who would be happy to give professional advice on property values and the best way to market your home.

Source: Gazette 2017