'We direly need a credible, long-term plan for the housing sector'

You can tell we’re gearing up for a general election when the headlines begin to appear around housing provision as the competing political parties jostle for voters’ attention.

The housing minister role has been like a revolving door in recent years, as soon as one minister has their feet under the table, they are moved on and another incumbent steps into the breach. 

The lack of a coherent long-term housing plan is damaging, forcing the industry to essentially operate in a vacuum, attempting to second guess the next move of government. 

Ultimately it is homeowners and tenants who pay the price.

Recent government figures show planning permission was granted for 264,000 homes in the past year, an 8% reduction on the previous year. 

Regrettably, these developments translate into fewer homes and escalated construction costs, which are inevitably passed on to the prospective buyers.

As we approach the 2024 election year, we can anticipate a resurgence of housing-related rhetoric. 

For instance, the Labour Party has voiced its intention to grant priority to first-time buyers in new-build developments.

Nonetheless, it is plausible that much of the housing sector would prefer a credible alternative to Help to Buy, particularly given the pressing issue of affordability in the context of a higher interest rate environment.

Meanwhile, Michael Gove, the secretary of state for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, recently launched his 10-point plan to boost housing supply, although this mainly consisted of an amalgamation of previous announcements.

Regardless of the party that assumes power after the next election, what we direly need is a credible, long-term plan for the housing sector.

Without such a plan, we are destined to remain on this disjointed path — inevitably yielding the same unsatisfactory outcomes.

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