Min­is­ter calls for price sta­bil­ity

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

HOUS­ING min­is­ter Grant Shapps has called for a pe­riod of house price sta­bil­ity to pre­vent gen­er­a­tions be­ing priced out of home own­er­ship.

Speak­ing at the Hous­ing Mar­ket In­tel­li­gence con­fer­ence in London, he ar­gued that buy­ing a prop­erty should be seen as a home first rather than an in­vest­ment.

He said: “This coun­try is in dan­ger of let­ting down the as­pi­ra­tions of a gen­er­a­tion if homes do not be­come more af­ford­able in the long term.

“So what is re­quired now is a pe­riod of house price sta­bil­ity. A home should first and fore­most be thought of as a place to live and bring up a fam­ily.”

The Min­is­ter promised Govern­ment sup­port for house­builders by cut­ting through the “al­pha­bet soup” of red tape. He said the Govern­ment would sim­plify the sys­tem, with house­builders’ help.

“Last year, house build­ing hit its low­est level for any peace­time years since 1924 as de­vel­op­ers have been ham­pered by re­gional tar­gets that put them in di­rect con­flict with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and an al­pha­bet soup of reg­u­la­tions and red tape they have to nav­i­gate,” he said

But house builders de­manded more de­tail, as in­for­ma­tion on the pro­posed new plan­ning sys­tem is thin.

HBF, that rep­re­sents the in­dus­try, is de­mand­ing that Min­is­ters act quickly to pro­vide a route map for how it in­tends to re­duce reg­u­la­tion, as well as de­tail and cer­tainty on the key planks for the coali­tion’s new plan­ning regime.

It said that in­for­ma­tion had been “painfully slow in com­ing” five months af­ter house­build­ing tar­gets in the form of Re­gional Spa­tial Strate­gies were scrapped.

HBF ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Ste­wart Base­ley said: “Grant Shapps’s com­mit­ment to the re­moval of red tape is wel­come and we are keen to work with Govern­ment to cre­ate their planned cli­mate for de­liv­ery. But we ur­gently need clar­ity on this and on how the new in­cen­tive and plan­ning sys­tems will work.

“A firm timetable for im­ple­men­ta­tion of the coali­tion’s new poli­cies would give in­dus­try and com­mu­ni­ties the nec­es­sary clar­ity and help end the cur­rent house build­ing hia­tus.”

The na­tional hous­ing cri­sis has seen fewer homes built in the last year than at any peace­time since 1923 while first-time buy­ers are at record lows. While the Govern­ment is in­sist­ing that it wants to en­cour­age and meet as­pi­ra­tion, home-builders fear that the hia­tus in the plan­ning sys­tem will con­tinue with­out con­crete de­tails of the new Govern­ment’s pro­pos­als.

What is clear is that Govern­ment money for af­ford­able hous­ing will be in short sup­ply. Mr Shapps said the pro­vi­sion now de­pends on “in­no­va­tive fund­ing struc­tures” to re­place state hand­outs.

He warned the com­pre­hen­sive spend­ing re­view will re­veal some “harsh re­al­i­ties”.

RED TAPE: Grant Shapps.

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