Nick Clegg has pledged to build 300,000 new homes a year if the Liberal Democrats win the General Election next year.
At the Liberal Democrat Party Conference last week, Clegg announced that he would meet this objective by building a series of new garden cities along the train route between Oxford and Cambridge.
This proposal puts the party well ahead of its competitors in terms of numbers of new homes planned for the UK.
One of the party’s ideas, which is also supported by Labour, is to do away with the current coalition’s Help to Buy scheme in favour of a “Help to Build” scheme, encouraging the construction of new properties.
The Lib Dems also stated that they would scrap the proposed mansion tax policy on houses worth over £2 million, adding higher council tax bands instead to gain more tax revenue.
Should the Lib Dems achieve the mighty task of winning the election, it’s expected that the new properties would form a mixture of private and social housing.
All three of the main political parties have acknowledged that there is a housing shortage in the UK that needs to be addressed, and property is set, therefore, to become a key bargaining chip as the candidates for the top job battle it out in the run-up to May 2015. Labour has stated that it will aim for the more modest figure of 200,000 new homes a year, reserving a certain amount for first-time buyers.
The news that politicians want to build has been received well by the media, but the construction industry is taking a cautious approach to the suggestions. Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, Brian Berry, said that building so many new homes is an ambitious task as it “hasn’t happened for several decades [….] The last time we built over 200,000 new homes was in 1988”. He believes that the Government should focus on creating a sustainable housing industry before plunging head first into any major plans, given that so many small and medium firms have left the residential construction sector since the financial crisis began in 2007.
Indeed, figures for August suggest that housing construction dropped 3.9% in August, when compared with the previous month, and that the year-on-year total is also down by 0.3%.
Meanwhile, September saw London house prices fall for the first time in four years, and prices across the rest of the UK had their smallest increase in 15 months. Although experts expect continued rises over the coming year, it could be that prices are beginning to stabilise once more.
If you have burning questions about the housing market and you’d like to speak to an expert, contact Julie Twist Properties today for up-to-date information about property in the Manchester area and beyond.
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