ProntoCALC News: The white paper “Fixing our broken housing market” sets out a broad range of reforms that government plans to introduce to help reform the housing market and increase the supply of new homes.
The new housing strategy for England includes giving councils powers to pressurise developers to start building on land they own.
Ministers also pledged to make renting more “family friendly” with longer tenancies.
The government says at least 250,000 new homes are needed each year to keep pace with demand and local councils and developers need to “get real” to the scale of the challenge.
Sajid Javid, Secretary of State, set out the details of the Housing White Paper in a statement to MPs, with measures including:
- Forcing councils to produce an up-to-date plan for housing demand
- Expecting developers to avoid “low-density” housing where land availability is short
- Reducing the time allowed between planning permission and the start of building from three to two years
- Using a £3bn fund to help smaller building firms challenge major developers, including support for off-site construction, where parts of buildings are assembled in a factory
- A “lifetime ISA” to help first-time buyers save for a deposit
- Maintaining protection for the green belt, which can only be built on “in exceptional circumstances”
- Introducing banning orders “to remove the worst landlords or agents from operating”
So-called starter homes, championed by former Prime Minister David Cameron, will be aimed at “households that need them most”, with combined incomes of less than £80,000, or £90,000 in London.
The government said there would be a change in focus from starter homes – which will be offered to first-time buyers at a discount – to “a wider range of affordable housing”.
Mr Javid said:
“Walk down your local high street today and there’s one sight you’re almost certain to see. Young people, faces pressed against the estate agent’s window, trying and failing to find a home they can afford. With prices continuing to skyrocket, if we don’t act now, a whole generation could be left behind. We need to do better, and that means tackling the failures at every point in the system.
“The housing market in this country is broken and the solution means building many more houses in the places that people want to live.”
Ministers have admitted the government is behind schedule in its efforts to build one million new homes in England by 2020.
Theresa May, Prime Minister, said:
“Our broken housing market is one of the greatest barriers to progress in Britain today. Whether buying or renting, the fact is that housing is increasingly unaffordable – particularly for ordinary working class people who are struggling to get by. Today the average house costs almost eight times average earnings – a record. “
“By building the homes Britain needs and giving those renting a fairer deal, we will give those growing up in society today more chance of enjoying the same opportunities as their parents and grandparents. It will ensure that the housing market is as fair for those who don’t own their own homes as it is for those that do. This is a vital part of our Plan for Britain and a critical step along the road towards fulfilling the mission I have set out to make Britain a country that works for everyone.”
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