Reaction to David Cameron's housing speech

Commenting on the speech made by David Cameron setting out Conservative policies on housing, Duncan Stott, director of affordable house price campaign PricedOut, said:

"Sadly there is not much sign of a long term plan for housing in today's announcements from David Cameron. Under his premiership we have seen homeownership fall to its lowest rate since the early 1980's, and there is no sign that today's announcements would reverse this decline.

"A long term housing plan would involve a target to end house price inflation, allowing young people's wages to catch up with the unaffordable housing market. It would mean a sustained housebuilding programme of 300,000 homes per year to tackle the backlog of 1 million missing houses amassed over the last 10 years. And it would include a wholesale review of property taxation to encourage downsizing and discourage rent-seeking and price speculation."

On the starter homes initiative, Duncan Stott said:

"It is frustrating to see the Conservatives focussing on yet another short-term gimmick. We expect that these starter homes would have been built anyway, so the plan is unlikely to lead to the increase in new homes that we desperately need. By removing the need for developers to contribute affordable homes and community infrastructure, the scheme is likely to ignite more local opposition to housebuilding, thereby stifling housing construction. We also see no plan to ensure that the 20% discount is genuine - there is a real danger that the developer simply inflates the non-discounted price, meaning the supposed discount is just a ploy."

On green belt protection, Duncan Stott said:

"Everyone wants to see brownfield land brought back into use, but the vast majority of brownfield sites are already in the planning system. We need to face up to the fact that many of the homes that younger generations so desperately need will need to be built on low amenity greenfield land. The green belt around London was created 70 years ago when the capital's population was falling. We need a government-led review of the Metropolitan green belt to find the best sites to deliver much-needed homes."

On interest rates, Duncan Stott said:

"It is odd to see David Cameron pledging low interest rates when these are set by the independent Bank of England. Young people trying to buy their first homes would actually benefit from higher base rates as this would help them save up a deposit. Promising low interest rates will also encourage higher mortgage indebtedness, but the last thing we need is more mortgage debt being pumped into the housing market."

On Help To Buy, Duncan Stott said:

"It is disappointing to hear of an extension Help To Buy Equity Loans. A long-term housing plan would mean housebuilders able to stand on their own feet without taxpayers subsidising their sales. The new homes that have been sold under Help To Buy were already planned and under construction before the scheme was launched, so would have been built without the scheme. The buyers 'helped' by Help To Buy are dwarfed by the hundreds of thousands of would-be buyers who have now been priced out by rising house prices."

On Right To Buy, Duncan Stott said:

"The Coalition promised that every new Right To Buy sale would see a one-to-one replacement home built, but that simply hasn't happened. We can only support Right To Buy if if comes with an unbreakable guarantee that it will trigger additional housebuilding."


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