19th December 2019

So - What did they say?

A quick reminder of what the Conservative party manifesto promised for house-building.  

It shouldn’t perhaps, be a surprise to find that the incumbent government is suggesting relatively little change to its established policies on house-building, and the Conservative party manifesto made few new promises.

The target remains to build 300,000 new homes per year with the emphasis very much on growing private ownership.

The headline solution to helping younger people onto the housing ladder is to “encourage a new market in long-term fixed rate mortgages”.  

Keen to support local communities, the manifesto suggests that councils should be able to use developers’ contributions via the planning process to discount new homes for local people by a third.

Right to Buy stays to help social renters move towards home ownership and Help to Buy continues until 2023.  There is also a hint here that some form of similar assistance to first time buyers will succeed Help to Buy.

Shared ownership remains a priority with the manifesto promising to introduce a single standard for all shared ownership schemes across the country.

Further reform to leasehold laws is promised, ensuring that no new homes should be sold as leasehold and that ground rents should be restricted to a peppercorn figure.

And finally, some good news for renters with a promise to end no fault evictions and reform the system of deposit taking.  Hundreds of thousands of affordable homes are promised through the continuation of the Affordable Homes Programme and a programme to end rough sleeping will be paid for by a stamp-duty surcharge on non UK-resident buyers.

Local people get more say in how new developments should be designed and more custom building is encouraged. The manifesto renews the commitment to increase the energy performance of new homes and to protect the Green Belt.

Investors certainly felt that this package is good for house-building – with shares in the major house-building companies rising fast immediately the results became clear. Uncertainty over the shape of Brexit negotiations dimmed initial confidence, but as far as domestic policy is concerned, the house-building industry seems positive.