Government unveils new housing push

Prime Minister, Theresa May’s Government has pledged to take “unprecedented steps” to open up the housing market.

Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, together with the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, confirmed a £3bn Home Builders Fund to provide loans to small building companies and fund infrastructure to kickstart construction.

The funding pot will see more than 25,000 brand new homes built by 2020 and up to 225,000 over the longer term.

The pair also pledged £2bn to encourage house builders to develop 15,000 homes in this Parliament on publicly-owned "brownfield" land.

And in a third ‘prong of attack’, the Government vowed to bring forward a package of measures to breathe new life into abandoned sites by building homes on empty shopping centres, run down town centres and transport hubs.

Why is this happening?

The three initiatives are part of the Government’s previously-stated aim to build a million new homes by 2020.

And many housing experts and economists believe that 250,000 new homes are needed each year.

Javid admitted: “It’s a not a bad number but it’s far fewer than we need. We need to do much better.

My message today is very clear: it’s time to get building. The big developers must release their stranglehold on supply. It’s time to stop sitting on landbanks, delaying build-out: the homebuyers must come first.

Who does it affect?

It’s welcome news for anyone seeking a home to buy, and a newly-built one at that.

However, there’s likely to be a time delay while the new measures translate into new homes ready for sale. Fortunately, part of the new funding will encourage new models of house building to deliver homes more cheaply and quickly.

Sounds interesting. What’s the background?

Javid boasted that today’s three initiatives were “just the beginning”, and that the Government will outline further measures to bolster the housing market later this year.

Housing minister, Gavin Barwell hinted last month that the Government could move its focus away from homeownership and allow house builders to develop a wider mix of affordable housing, including homes for rent.

The Government is thought to be considering altering its proposed Starter Homes policy. Part of the Conservative manifesto, its stated aim was to deliver 200,000 homes for first-time buyers under 40 with a 20% discount.

Quirk said: “The Government itself owns around 180,000 brownfield sites from industrial estates to airports and so this intent straight off the bat to utilise some of it, is at the very least, a step in the right direction.”

Zoopla (October 3rd 2016)