Estate agents around the country should be celebrating today. And jumping around their offices wearing blue rosettes chanting ‘We love DC’. Maybe.
Because David Cameron has announced plans to reinvigorate Mrs Thatcher’s original ‘Right to Buy’ programme whereby council house tenants are able to buy their homes at massive discounts. In the last few years, the discounts have been reduced by subsequent Governments.
The idea is that in providing such incentive to buy your council owned home, it will free up much needed funds to enable councils to build more homes which will, in turn, free up the growing waiting list of people needing social housing. Mr Cameron’s ambition is to fund 100,000 new such homes for affordable rent and, with them, 200,000 new jobs.
Right to Buy gave those living in their property a discount from market value of up to 50%. With 38% of social tenants not requiring housing benefit and 800,000 occupants in full time work, his plan seems plausible in that there will certainly be ready, willing and able buyers.
The Prime Minister has also stated that there is enough surplus Government land around to build another 100,000 homes. Grant Shapps MP, the Housing Minister, has also said that the Government is considering allowing developers to build houses and then pay the Government for the developed land once sold. ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’. Like buying a DFS Sofa, but for houses, that sort of thing. Pretty innovative stuff really.
The estate agency industry is in the doldrums (for most). But these announcements from the floor of the Conservative Party Conference already this week could be a vital shot in the arm for a property market and its participants that have little to celebrate otherwise amidst transation levels at a decade long low and an abundance of property choice, much of it overpriced.
Given the rich fees that other estate agents charge though, we suspect they all vote Tory in any case 😉