Has the Broken Housing Market Been Fixed?
Originally published in Issue 12 of Insulate Magazine.
The announcement in the budget last week of a package of housing measures totalling around £44bn was welcome news for everyone in the construction industry. But will this really deliver on the Government’s promise to fix our broken housing market?
Property Fit for Purpose
Certainly scrapping stamp duty for properties under the £300,000 threshold for first time buyers is good news for the consumer but we need to be sure that when they invest in their new home that they are getting a property that is fit for purpose. This means being able to buy a home with confidence that has been properly built by a skilled workforce and that lives up to current energy efficiency regulations, otherwise any cost savings on stamp duty will be negated by higher running costs for the building over its lifetime.
Living Up to Expectations
It is also good to see that there will be a review on the controversial topic of ‘land banking’. With claims from large builders on the one hand that planning issues are the real cause of the problem and claims from others that speed of build is being deliberately slowed down to push up house prices, it will be good to get some clarity from Oliver Letwin on this so that building can proceed at the ambitious rate demanded. The announcement that support to unlock smaller sites and identify brownfield sites to allow SME builders to build 40,000 new homes is great news for the construction industry but again we need a skilled workforce to deliver on this.
With around £34 million promised to develop construction skills across the country, we need to be sure that we get the skills training in place ahead delivery of the ambitious target of 300,000 new homes a year, otherwise the construction industry is setting itself up for failure and consumers will lose confidence.
Building 300,000 new homes a year is certainly an ambitious target and a pledge that we have heard numerous times before but we need to ensure that all new homes can live up to the expectations of those living in them or aspiring to live in them. Will that happen? Let’s wait and see.
Do you agree has the housing market been fixed or is it a case of time will tell? Share your thoughts below and join in the discussion.