There continues to be serious shortage of affordable housing in the UK, especially for the younger generation looking to get onto the housing ladder. Rental increases over the past few years has meant that it is becoming harder for people to save up the large deposits required to buy a house. It’s become a hot topic for politicians; the Conservatives have introduced various schemes, which have had very little effect on young people being able to buy their own houses. New figures state that 8 out of 10 young working families will not be able to afford to buy their own home.
Between 1979-1997 the Conservatives shifted away from public sector house-building and encouraged people towards home ownership. When the new labour government were in power they mainly continued to encourage home ownership, the main exception was the introduction of the decent home programme in 1998, which was introduced to ensure that tenants in both private and public home rentals, met certain quality standards. At this time Labour were concerned more about the quality of accommodation than meeting increasing housing demand.
In the 2000’s, house prices reached a peak, and home shortage became a real concern for the Labour government, until 2008 when the credit crunch had a negative impact on property prices in nearly all areas of the UK, and house building in subsequent years fell to an all time low.
Since the last general election the Conservatives have continued to try and ease the impact of demand outstripping supply, and have introduced schemes to help first time buyers and home owners to save up for large house deposits and move into larger homes, with their ‘Help to Buy’ schemes and their latest ‘Help to buy ISA’s.’
The latest coalition government has also tried to relax planning rules, to free up more land for new housing – but slow local council processing and local objections continue to cripple new housing developments.
New stamp duty thresholds have also been introduced to help people buying at the lower end of the market – meaning that buyers can buy a house up to £125,000 without paying any stamp duty.
So what are the main parties manifestos on housing in the UK?
Labour - Ed Miliband is expected to announce several housing policies, including rental cap, and say that £225m scheme to halt stamp duty will be fully funded.
Conservatives - their manifesto is to offer 1.3m families the right to buy housing association homes.
Liberal Democrates - goal to build 300,000 new homes a year, including 10 new garden cities in areas where homes are needed most. New Rent to Own homes, with monthly payments buying a stake in the property. Help to Rent tenancy deposit loans from the state to help young adults leave their parents’ home and rent a place of their own.£100 cut in council tax for 10 years for people who insulate their home. Ban on landlords letting out homes that tenants cannot reasonably afford to heat.
Source: The National Housing Association – SMF, Social Market Foundation