A flood of first time buyers? Andrew Bullivant of @AMPlymouth
Recent reports from all sides show a 10 year high of First Time buyers returning to the housing market which provides welcome relief given the recent fall in the numbers of Buy to Let investors.
The Governments position is a difficult one – encourage first time homeowners, reduce the house price inflationary effect that buy to let investors have had historically and, at the same time, ensure that the housing market doesn’t dramatically correct itself in the face of the high number of government policy interventions over the course of the last two governments.
Frankly, the Government are doing a good job of balancing those issues if they were the only measure.
However, the reality is that we require greater numbers of houses being delivered across the country with a nationally recognised figure of 300,000 new homes being required year on year. Here in Plymouth our target is 1000 New Homes – year on year and in 2017 we, according to HM Land Registry, as a city delivered 220. Clearly, that number would be hugely increased if the recently constructed Student schemes were included.
A complex and changing planning system, increased developer contributions to enable development & increasing build costs are pertinent for housebuilders when assessing viability of potential housing schemes and when those considerations are set against annual house price infl ation of 1% or 2%, inevitably, this leads to a more challenging environment in terms of housing delivery and does nothing whatsoever to enable the acceleration of house building and delivery.
If we are to improve the delivery of New Homes action is urgently required. A more dynamic planning approach that allows an element of fluidity is urgently required, a cap on the significant and unseen contributions that New Homes purchasers are paying, and significant investment is required to train up school leavers to become the tradesmen and women that the industry so urgently requires.
The creation of New Homes is an industry that provides jobs and homes for so many, but for too long the industry has been used to subsidise local need rather than deliver adequate housing. It’s time to take the breaks off.