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How Would the Property Industry Be Impacted by the General Election Outcome?

Election Poll Card

Since Rishi Sunak announced that he was calling a general election for July 4th, the UK has been in the grips of election fever, with political parties of all colours travelling the length and breadth of the country to secure the backing of voters.

 

A whole host of key issues are set to decide how voters mark their ballot paper on 4th July, with the cost-of-living crisis, the economy, and immigration all topping the agenda.

 

Another critical issue is housing. With millions of first-time buyers unable to get on the property ladder despite their aspirations to do so, (with the average house now costing £282,000) there is an urgent need for considerably more affordable homes to be built. As such, many voters will be eager to pay close attention to what each of the main parties is pledging to address the various challenges impacting the UK’s property market.

 

But what exactly is being said?

 

Conservatives

 

The governing party has gone to great lengths to highlight its delivery of over 2.5 million homes since coming to power in 2010, and is now promising to deliver 1.6 million more across England in the next parliament. It aims to do this by creating record numbers of new homes each year on brownfield land in urban areas, doing away with the bureaucracy it says has plagued the planning system for too long, and has prevented previously developed sites from being repurposed for housing.

 

In addition to this, the Tories intend to renew the Affordable Homes Programme [AHP],

which provides grant funding to support the capital costs of developing affordable housing in England, in a bid to provide new homes of all tenures, and to focus on regenerating and improving existing housing estates.

 

Labour

 

Sir Keir Starmer has expressed his desire to ‘get Britain building again’, with 1.5 million new homes pledged over the new parliament should his party be elected. Much like the Conservatives, Labour intends to achieve this by taking a ‘brownfield first approach’ that prioritises repurposing previously developed land wherever possible and fast-tracking planning approval for urban brownfield sites.

 

Labour has also said that it would take a more strategic approach to the designation of green belt land (a buffer between towns, and between town and countryside) for housing, stating that in any scheme built on this category, 50% must be affordable housing. Labour would prioritise building on lower quality ‘grey belt’ land - which includes a stipulation that a site must target 50% affordable housing - over areas of genuine natural beauty. Other key pledges include a new generation of new towns, the provision of funding for additional planning officers to expedite the process, and new planning powers for Combined Authorities.

 

Liberal Democrats

 

On the campaign trail, the Lib Dems have been keen to reiterate their belief that local authorities currently lack the power they need to build the homes that their areas require. As such, the party claims it will ramp up construction of new homes to 380,000 a year across the country, 150,000 of which will be allocated as social housing. This would be delivered via proposed new garden cities, as well as the community-driven development of existing cities and towns.

 

Like the Tory and Labour parties, Sir Ed Davey has pledged that his party would promote development of existing brownfield sites, with a particular focus on providing affordable and social housing in these areas. In terms of the buy-to-let market, the Lib Dems aim to place an immediate ban on no-fault evictions, making three-year tenancies the default, and creating a national register of licensed landlords.

 

The Green Party

 

Under the leadership of Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay, the Greens have said that, in order to provide more affordable homes for renters and buyers alike, it’s imperative that local authorities and central government work more closely together. The party has unveiled its ‘Our Right Homes, Right Place, Right Price Charter’, which states that councils would need to spread small developments across their areas, and that new developments would also need to come with extra investment in local infrastructure and services, such as health and transport.

 

Similarly to the Lib Dems, the Green Party has promised to deliver 150,000 new social homes every year through a combination of new builds and the refurbishing of older housing stock, end no-fault evictions, and push for stronger controls on the rental market.

 

Reform UK

 

Led by Nigel Farage and previously known as the Brexit Party, Reform UK says it will ensure people can achieve homeownership by ‘unleashing housebuilding’ across the UK, while cutting down on the levels of immigration it believes is contributing to the housing crisis. The party also intends to fast track the planning process for brownfield development, and to shake up social housing law to prioritise ‘local people and those who have paid into the system’.

 

While the other major parties have published their manifestos, Reform has set out what it calls its ‘contract’ with the British public. This includes a pledge to restore the right of landlords to deduct finance costs and mortgage interest from tax on rental income, as well as the party’s aims to incentivise the use of new construction technology to boost building efforts.

 

Who has your vote?

 

With polling stations set to open shortly, all parties are in overdrive as they scramble to sway voters, and convince them that theirs is the right vision for the UK’s future.

 

While they are broadly in agreement about the need to reallocate previously developed brownfield land for new homes, there are a number of key differences between what each is promising when it comes to housing. As such, voters passionate about housing must carefully weigh up what is being pledged, entering the ballot box on Thursday with the knowledge and confidence that their vote accurately reflects what they believe should be done to shake up the UK’s housing market.

 

However, whatever the outcome, it’s important to remember that housing will remain a pillar of the economy and any future Government will continue to protect it - upholding its status as an ideal and beneficial investment opportunity long-term.

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