It looks like Santa will have to relinquish December’s MVP award this year – in the UK at least. That’s because the festive season has taken a back seat to the first wintertime General Election since 1923 and the third election in almost four years.
There is plenty on the agenda as we head to the polls: the small matter of Brexit, the education system and, of course, the UK housing market. Homeowners and buyers up and down the country will be particularly eager to hear each party’s stance on the property market.
Brexit has left everything up in the air, including the housing scene. Now is the chance for the big parties to insert confidence back into buyers and sellers, even if selling during this Brexit stalemate isn’t as bad as you might think.
With less than a month until the election, the party’s manifesto are inniment. While Brexit might be at the top of the list, the housing market will also be a high priority and play a key role in which party people vote for.
As details of each political party’s stance on housing emerge, we thought now would be a good time to take a look at what the housing landscape under The Conservatives, Labour and The Liberal Democrats might look like.
Starting with the current party in power, the Conservatives have been in charge of the for the last nine years; therefore, most of their housing promises should already be in place – with tweaks, rather than sweeping changes, likely to make their way into the manifesto.
The Conservatives want to overhaul the planning system, in an effort to speed up the constructions of houses. They will also focus on first-time buyers, offering long-term fixed mortgages with only 5% needed as a deposit.
Local first time buyers will get 30% off new homes in their area, and Help to Buy will continue to run until at least 2023. Boris Johnson has pledged to boost the private housing sector and build a million new homes over the next five years.
The Labour Party
Labour has promised to fix the UK housing market, creating homes for ‘the many’. In May of this year, the party commissioned a report titled, ‘Land for the Many’, which featured proposals that would ‘end the buy-to-let frenzy’.
Their manifesto will incorporate a radical housing overview, with the aim of building 100,000 new council homes by 2024. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has also said there will be 50,000 ‘genuinely affordable’ homes available and the criteria will be matched to people’s income.
The plans to build new homes is the most ambitious of the three parties and, if successful, will see the largest number of homes built in Britain since the aftermath of World War II.
In the rental sector, both the Conservatives and Labour have backed lifetime rental deposits, with the aim of making it easier for people to rent homes.
The Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats position themselves as the anti-Brexit party, with keeping the UK in the EU their primary objective. Their stance on housing isn’t quite as forthcoming as The Conservatives or Labour, but they have committed to building 100,000 social homes for rent each year.
They have also previously commented on building new homes by creating a British Housing Company as a dedicated, arms-length, not for profit, non-governmental body that would acquire land of low amenity through compulsory acquisition. The party didn’t state whether these new homes would be used for social housing or affordable housing.
The buy-to-let sector also looks like it’s on the agenda of the Liberal Democrats. Mandatory licensing for landlords, Help to Rent schemes and a minimum of three-year tenancies are all included in the 2019 manifesto.
UK housing in 2020 and beyond
Traditionally, General Elections don’t have a significant impact on the UK housing market. This year could be different, however, especially with Brexit in the background. Whichever party you decide to vote for, be sure that you agree with their stance on housing. The results of this election could shape the UK housing market for the next generation.
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