The new government has announced its legislative plans for housing in the coming year.
In the first all-Conservative Queen’s Speech since 1996, The Housing Bill confirmed numerous Tory policies which had been pledged in the Party’s manifesto prior to the general election.
The Bill states that the legislation is being introduced to ‘support home ownership, increase housing supply and help provide more working people with the chance to own their own home’.
As well as an extension of the Right to Buy scheme to 1.3 million housing association tenants, there will also be help for first-time buyers, courtesy of the Starter Homes scheme.
This initiative will provide 200,000 homes for under 40’s at a 20% discount.
Also brought forward is the Right to Build, which will require local planning authorities to support builders in their area in identifying suitable plots of land for building.
There will also be a statutory register for brownfield land introduced, which aims to help achieve the target of getting Local Development Orders in place on 90% of suitable brownfield sites by 2020.
Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors, says it is welcome that the government is already acting on its pre-election promises.
However, he states that minor tweaks to the system cannot possibly ‘mop up’ all the buyers who want to get on the housing ladder.
“Earmarking land to make it easier and quicker to self-build is a positive nod towards increased housebuilding. Planning regulations are still far too restrictive and the number of skilled workers who can physically put a house together is another anchor on new housing volumes,” he says.
Andy Frankish, New Build Director at Mortgage Advice Bureau argues that a bolder step by policymakers would have been a commitment to ‘ensuring that high loan-to-value (LTV) lending to first time buyers is maintained through the extension of Help to Buy or a similar scheme’.
Adrian Gill, director of Your Move and Reeds Rains estate agents, says it is encouraging that the new government is beginning to tackle the UK’s housing supply issue.
“Streamlining neighbourhood planning regulation and utilising brownfield land is a solid step in the right direction. Whether these new schemes are setting sights high enough is the big question,” he says. “Reforming the red tape surrounding the house building process may be one of the only safeguards around steadier house price rises.”
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