Housing to continue to be a major focus for 2018

07 December 2017

Housing has been high on the agenda for most of this year and will undoubtedly be a focus in 2018.

The Housing White paper, albeit a bit of a damp squib at time of publishing, has focused the attention of Parliament on the issue with all parties agreeing that there is not enough supply and more needs to be done. At the time of writing, statistics have just come out saying that 217,350 new homes were built last year, although this is still short of the Government’s target of 250,000, but only 41,530 of these were “affordable housing”.

Teresa May is said to be taking personal responsibility on housing and various housing initiatives are expected to be announced in the November budget.  One change the Government has already made is to re-privatise Housing Associations and whether this really just to get the circa £70bn worth of Government lending off balance sheet or not, the ability of Housing Associations to be able to raise finance to develop new housing is a good thing, especially as the number of new social housing has dropped from just short of £40,000 in 2010/11 to just 5,380 in 2016/17.

First time buyers are still struggling to get mortgages to buy their first property, although the Chancellor’s abolition of stamp duty for first time buyers purchasing properties under £300,000 will be a real help. Whilst gross lending continues to increase in November, lending to first time buyers has been flat, a major reason being the amount remortgaging onto fixed rates in anticipation of November’s base rate increase .

There has been a lot of discussion around the pros and cons of new construction types and this seems to be gaining momentum. Whilst there is agreement that innovation in construction is a good thing, the UK public has a bit of an obsession with bricks and mortar so it may be that some incentives are given to potential purchasers to take a leap of faith to these new construction types. In many new estates, modular construction is already being used to quickly fit kitchens and bathrooms and so we are hopefully part way there already.

Lenders, of course, will have a large part to play in allowing new construction types to be a success. Lending policy will play a huge part and with only a handful of lenders looking at these property types at the moment, the hurdles of getting a mortgage against these types of construction must be overcome somehow. In Europe and the US, these properties are far more accepted so it must only be a matter of time before the UK follows suit.

Hopefully this focus will have a very positive affect in 2018 and beyond. With Christmas coming up, we should spare the thought that we shouldn’t have increasing numbers of people living on the streets in this day and age, and also the amount of overcrowded social housing that we have.  

Hopefully the mixture of new policy combined with innovation will go some way to alleviating that. 

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Debbie Staveley
Director and Owner,
bClear Communications

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