Housing policies pivotal for buyers in election
- 27th April 2015
- Buying Property News
The political parties have announced their policies - we look at how buyers could be affected
Housing is such a fundamental issue for every family in the UK that it is no surprise that housing policies figure strongly in all three major parties’ election manifestos.
The Conservative Party’s major announcement was for an extension of the Right to Buy policy to the 1.3 million homes currently owned by Housing Associations in England and Wales. Under the proposed scheme, tenants will be able to buy the properties they currently rent at a discount to the market price, in a similar way to the popular scheme for council owned properties first launched by the Thatcher Government. In this way, Housing Associations should receive a substantial injection of cash to enable them to build new properties.
Other Conservative manifesto pledges include special Help-to-Buy ISAs for first time buyers to help them put together sufficient funds for a deposit and the creation of a £1 billion brownfield regeneration fund which would be expected to unlock sites for as many as 400,000 new homes.
The Labour Party’s manifesto includes a much wider range of policies. Their headline pledge is to be building 200,000 new homes every year by 2020 and work towards “a new generation of garden cities.”
Among the ways they propose to achieve their target is to unlock land banks by threatening developers with a “use it or lose it” law which will encourage developers to build on land they own. They also want to set up a Future Homes Fund by requiring the “billions” saved in the new Help to Buy ISAs is invested in increasing the housing supply.
Labour's plans for introducing a 'Mansion Tax' on properties over £2 million has also been a topic of much debate - particularly in London where many properties are valued above this and would therefore be captured within this tax. The threshold would then rise in line with house prices. However, if this tax were to be introduced, homeowners could become concerned that potential buyers may be put off or priced out of their property.
In the recent Budget, the Conservatives attempted to tackle this issue by amending Stamp Duty charges, putting the emphasis on the purchaser as opposed to a homeowner who, due to the inflation of house prices, se has found themselves caught within the mansion tax band. At the lower end of the market, Labour are using Stamp Duty as a mechanism for encouraging first time buyers by proposing to scrap the tax for purchase of property under £300,000.
Garden Cities are popular with the Liberal Democrats too. They plan to set in motion at least 10 new Garden Cities. Another policy is a Rent to Own scheme under which first time buyers can get their foot on the housing ladder without needing a deposit. Through schemes run by Housing Associations and others they will build up a share in their homes through the rent they pay.
The Conservative Party’s major announcement was for an extension of the Right to Buy policy to the 1.3 million homes currently owned by Housing Associations in England and Wales.
FREE & INSTANT PROPERTY VALUATION
IN JUST 60 SECONDS