You don’t need to be an expert in housing or property to recognise that the UK has a housing problem. In London, many homes are simply priced out of the market for ordinary people as house prices are so high. In other parts of the country, there simply aren’t enough new homes being built to cater for the demand. Many have criticised the Conservative government, who have been in power since 2010, and their lack of action on the problem. If the government wants to tackle the housing problem, here’s where they can start.
Build more housing
This is an incredibly obvious thing to include on this list, but when we look at individual councils, many are missing the targets with regards to new housing. This boils down to a number of reasons concerning lack of space, and the cost of land. If the government wants to tackle this head-on, they need to look at developing brownfield sites into places where homes can be built.
Make homes affordable
Again, another characteristic of this Conservative government is their lack of intervention when it comes to house prices. Many young families, and hardworking people are being simply priced out the market with regards to housing. As supply is so great, the developers have open range on what they can charge, and many homes are being sold at a value much higher than their actual worth. The government should introduce legislation to prevent this.
Tax reform on property
In the wake of the Grenfell tragedy, it was revealed that almost 20,000 homes in the London area sat empty of the course of 2016. This gives an idea of how the super-rich are able to buy up property to give a London address for tax reasons, and then leave the homes empty for the rest of the year. If we are to open some of these homes up to the public who are in need of housing, we need to think about taxing people heavily who aren’t using property in London.
Engage with landlords
Thanks to the demand for property, many people have opted to buy up flats and apartments with the intention of becoming a landlord. Thanks to the Buy to Let ISA, and the online landlord resources, it has been easier than usual to get into the market. The government should be looking to create more of a dialogue with this group to see where there are opportunities to offer housing to those in need.
Keep an eye on banks
The last financial crisis that occurred in 2008 was caused by a housing bubble. This originated in the US housing market, but lead to a chain reaction felt the world over. Today we are seeing mortgage lending rates creeping up to the levels when the last crash happened and beyond. The worst thing for housing is reckless banks and lending. This can result in housing projects remaining unfinished as businesses go bust and people losing their homes. Tightened banking regulations would minimise this risk.
The government needs to step up and take responsibility for the housing problems that are being faced in the UK. If more is not done sooner, we might end up with a generation of people unable to own a home, which would have massive implications on the economy as a whole.