Labour promises young people ‘the dream of owning their own home’

As the Labour manifesto was launched today in Manchester, acknowledgment of the need to ‘kickstart growth’ in the housing market promises to deliver a ‘dream’ for the young to own their own homes. 

Party leader Keir Starmer has outlined a plan to ‘get Britain building again’ and has placed importance on giving priority on first-time buyers after renters struggle to keep up with the rising cost of accommodation.

The Labour manifesto used the example of UK tenant Sam, who says he lives in rented accommodation that ‘doesn’t feel like home.’ Despite efforts to save, downsize and working as many hours as she can, Sam says she ‘can’t get on the property ladder.’ Labour has responded by saying that ‘owning your own home shouldn’t be out of reach for working people – Labour will kickstart growth and get Britain building again.’

The party also promises to scrape extra revenue from increasing stamp duty on purchases of residential property by non-UK residents by one per cent.

The latest RICS residential survey has indicated that it’s not only the young that are suffering at the soaring costs of property, as homeowners over 55 claim to be seeking ‘mental health help‘ as the cost of living crisis has sparked ongoing difficulties with basic living.

Comments from Neil Cobbold, Commercial Director of Reapit on The Labour Party manifesto express a positive outlook on the undersupply of UK properties and the high cost of buying and renting.

He said: “It’s encouraging to see Labour focus on the undersupply of properties, which is at least partly responsible for the high cost of buying and renting. Building 1.5 million new homes for sale and social rent, reforming planning laws, and appointing 300 additional planning officers will help, but construction on this scale will also take time to deliver. We hope that the policy to create Skills England, a Labour-proposed organisation that will be tasked with ensuring training in England accounts for the overall needs of the labour market, will help equip our workforce with the skills needed to meet this target.

“Any proposed mortgage guarantee scheme, including those in the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat manifestos, needs to be carefully reviewed to ensure it does not inflate house prices, pushing them further out of reach of the people it is designed to help.
“On the private rented sector, it is no surprise to see continued support for the abolition of Section 21 in the Labour manifesto. However, as we’ve argued before, immediately abolishing it without first reforming the court systems and creating new grounds under Section 8 will trouble landlords, which may further escalate prices as stock is withdrawn.

“We look forward to seeing details around Labour’s plans to ensure private rented sector properties meet minimum energy efficiency standards by 2030 – including what financing will be available. Proposals to extend ‘Awaab’s Law’ to the private rented sector should be welcomed, as no property professional wants to see renters live in substandard homes. Detailed record keeping of any maintenance requests and repairs will be critical for agents supporting landlords once this is enacted.”

Labour’s proposed planning reforms offer the ‘best hope to build the homes we need’, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, commented: “The current housing crisis won’t be solved unless radical proposals to reform the planning system are put in place. The Labour Party Manifesto contains several exciting proposals, which offer hope for the future of the building industry. The plans to build 1.5 million new homes over the next five years, and the pledge to impose binding house building targets on local councils, are welcome news. Labour’s ‘Grey Belt’ proposals, which sit alongside their Golden Rules for development, offer real hope for seeing small sites for new homes unlocked.”

However, not all feedback on housing plans have been met with praise. Propertymark have called for ‘more details’ from the party and a ‘realistic timeline with full disclosure’. Propertymark bosses have highlighted the plight of buyers since the 2008 recession and call for any future strategy to include a sustainable mix of affordable housing options for both buyers and renters.
Nathan Emerson, CEO at Propertymark comments:

“Pledges to reform the planning system, commit to a brownfield-first approach, making the private rental sector more energy efficient, and a commitment to build 1.5 million new homes over the next parliamentary term are more than welcome. The planning process can be a huge obstacle in keeping pace with demand and change is desperately needed in order to serve an ever-growing population. Many buyers have had a tough time since the 2008 recession, and it is vital any future strategy includes a sustainable mix of affordable housing options for both buyers and renters.

“Propertymark would like to see more details from Labour about how they plan to meet their housing goals and ensure this is there is a firm and fair set of policies in place to serve all demographics.

“Any aspiration to reintroduce the Renters (Reform) Bill must come with full disclosure and a realistic timeline regarding the required court reform before the removal of Section 21 evictions should ever become a reality.”

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