‘Big thinking’ required to fix housing market – IMLA

The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) has encouraged the Government to apply a ‘big thinking’ approach to housing in the upcoming Budget announcement, in order to start fixing the ‘broken’ UK housing market.

The association set out a list of key priorities for which it wants Downing Street to focus its spending – starting with a more ambitious commitment to housebuilding.

IMLA highlighted the Conservative party’s recent pledge to build ‘at least one million’ homes over the next five years, including support measures for first-time buyers and private renters.

Data released by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in November last year showed that 241,130 new homes were completed in 2018-19.

IMLA executive director, Kate Davies, said: “The new Government’s first Budget presents an opportunity to take a real stride forward in its commitment to fixing Britain’s housing market – which the Conservatives themselves described as ‘broken’ in their wide-ranging white paper (published in February 2017).

“It’s clear Boris Johnson is bringing a ‘big thinking’ approach to policy making and major capital projects – from his thumbs-up for HS2 to rumours of a Boris Bridge – and we’re urging the Government to bring a similarly bold approach to housing.”

Other areas that IMLA has called on Downing Street to prioritise in March 11’s Budget include help for first-time buyers, as well as the future for the Help to Buy scheme.

The association has also urged the Government to consider its support for both the private and public rented sectors and called for a review of the Stamp Duty tax take currently impacting on property transactions.

“Getting the strategy right means committing to a long-term vision – and with its sizeable majority, the Government is well-placed to co-ordinate that vision across all departments,” Davies continued.

“We don’t just need more homes – we need the right size and design of well-built, energy-efficient homes, which are properly serviced by a well-planned infrastructure including roads, schools, hospitals and public transport networks.

“The pledge to build 200,000 houses a year is welcome – but the fact that that target has already been met over the last five years indicates that the Government could be more ambitious. We need thorough analysis of what the UK’s housing needs are going to be over the next 20-30 years – and real leadership to deliver that.”

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