When George Osborne unveiled the misguided Help To Buy scheme to his fellow cabinet ministers, he reportedly told them, "hopefully we will get a little housing boom and everyone will be happy as property values go up", but what the Chancellor doesn't seem to realise is what the public really think about the prospect of house price rises.
An opinion poll by ComRes for ITV News spells out the true picture. A majority of the public think rising house prices are bad for the country as a whole, by a margin of 59% to 26%.
An overwhelming 88% of the public realise that rising house prices are bad for young people, with only a small majority of 48% to 36% think they are good for older Britons.
With the huge burden that rising house prices place on future generations, people also tend to think rising house prices are bad for their own family, by a 47% to 35% margin. On an individualistic level it is a tight race, with 42% saying house price increases are good new personally but 40% saying they're bad, a difference impossible to tell apart within the margin of error.
Instead of 'hoping for a housing boom', the government should respond to what the public want and bring an end to ever-rising house prices. We want the government to officially adopt a target of zero house price inflation. You can help us push for this by signing our petition.Read more
The Labour Party leader is pledging a package of very welcome reforms for private rented tenants. The announcements include:
- A ban on rip-off fees charged to tenants by letting agents.
- Longer term tenancy agreements of three years, with capped rent increases during this term.
Ed Miliband is also expected to reassert Labour's pledge to build 200,000 homes per year by 2020.
PricedOut have long called for letting agent fees to be scrapped for tenants in England and Wales, as is the case in Scotland. Referencing, credit checks and inventories are services for the landlord, so it is only right that landlords pay for them. These fees are always inflated to far beyond a reasonable cost for the service and in our view are a clear example of letting agents profiteering from the housing crisis.
With over a million children now living in private rented housing, longer contracts are essential to give families a stable home. PricedOut will be pushing Labour and their rivals to go further and instigate a minimum standard tenancy term of five years. Providing stable homes in the private rented sector will also ease the desperation the majority of tenants feel to own rather than rent, which should help cool down house prices.
Longer letting agreements only mean anything if there is a limit to how much the rent can be increased within the term, so the rent caps included in the announcement are a vital but modest part of the pledged reforms.
Finally, while Labour do seem to recognise that there is a desperate need for new homes to be built, 200,000 per year will not be enough to improve affordability in the housing market. If we are to truly get to grips with the housing crisis, we need to see 300,000 homes per year right away, with a focus on building them in the areas where unaffordability is worst.
It's no secret that PricedOut think that house prices have become far too expensive. A roof over your head is an absolute basic that everyone needs to be able to afford. Therefore it's interesting to compare house prices to the cost of another life essential - food.Read more
Nearly a quarter of a million private renters have been priced out of home ownership since the government announced its flagship Help to Buy scheme, according to analysis from PricedOut, the campaign for lower cost housing, as they launch a manifesto to fix the housing market.
Around 18,875 households (many of which will have two earners) have used the scheme to date, but by stimulating a frenzy in the housing market which has pushed up prices for first time buyers by 8%, the government has made home ownership unaffordable for 245,000 people who could have afforded it before George Osborne’s announcement in March.
Landlords cash in on the job prospects of the young
Young people who move to cities with more job vacancies will be £1002 per year worse off because of higher rents, according to new analysis from PricedOut, the campaign for lower cost housing.