Industry reaction to Government’s building and planning reforms

The property industry has broadly welcomed the range of initiatives announced last week to tackle the constraints on housing supply.

“This Government means business in delivering plans to help people, build new homes and kick-start the economy,” said Prime Minister David Cameron.

He added, “We’re determined to cut through the bureaucracy that holds us back. That starts with getting the planners off our backs.”

Another 16,500 first-time buyers are also to receive help getting buying a new home under an extension of the FirstBuy scheme.

But while the new measures should help dictate success, increasing mortgage lending remains the key, according to the Home Builders Federation (HBF).

“Mortgage availability remains the biggest constraint on development and more needs to be done. Until it improves significantly a full recovery is not sustainable, but we must tackle other constraints so that when lending does increase more desperately needed homes can be built,” said Stewart Baseley of the HBF.

Commenting on Government plans for house building and easing planning restrictions on homes and businesses, John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said, “We have long said that unfreezing the housing market will be a major game-changer in the drive for economic growth. The housing and planning announcements today will provide a much-needed tonic for the construction sector, getting diggers on site and people into work. It will make a difference to households across the country.”

Jennet Siebrits, head of residential research at CBRE, said, “Over recent years the number of housing completions has struggled, only just breeching 100,000 in the last two years – half the level it was at during the boom. Therefore, any measures that help stimulate investment and development are greatly received.

“We are pleased that the Government has committed to a housing taskforce to boost the private rented sector, as recommended in the Montague Review, and look forward to the announcement of its members. Demand for private rented housing has increased, with 1.3 million private rented households created over the last decade. Over the last two years alone, rental households have increased by 12.5%, or 370,000. This sector needs to be properly facilitated in order for it to continue to grow.”

Benjamin James Bird BA(HONS) MNAEA MARLA partner at Sterling Estate Agents comments: 'While this is great news we hope that the local authorities will take a straight forward approach to brown and greenfield sites and not make applications over complicated or daunting for smaller developers who work to much tighter margins and develop on a smaller level than the national house builders. We have many potential plots of land ready for development subject to planning and hope the new laws will show some flexibility and give rise to a more relaxed and common sense approach.'

Additionally, the £280 million extension of FirstBuy is also great news for the industry.

Andrew Frankish, director of new homes at Mortgage Advice Bureau, said, “It [FirstBuy] is a proven product and has already helped thousands of first-time buyers who might otherwise have not been able to take their first step on the housing ladder.

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