This year’s Housing White Paper on ‘Fixing Britain’s broken housing market’ has been released. In general, the 104-page paper presented a number of pledges but little detail on how they would increase the amount of properties available.

Promises for more homes in the UK

Here is a summary of the top points taken from the 2017 Housing White Paper:

Promises for more homes in the UK

The White Paper is full of plans to encourage house building:

  • Councils will be able to issue ‘completion notices’ to developers to make them start building within two years of getting planning permission rather than three
  • Small firms will be offered loans to help them build 25,000 new homes by 2020
  • Councils must come up with a five-year housing plan and will face an annual audit to ensure they are hitting targets
  • The government will back small independent builders through the £3 million Home Building Fund

Make the most of the existing housing

One of the most interesting developments from the paper was the government’s plans to incentivise older homeowners to downsize in an effort to free up housing for families and younger buyers. Local authorities will also continue to get financial rewards for bringing an empty, unused home back onto the market as new.

Getting first-time buyers into the market

The successful Help to Buy scheme will continue and a plan to offer discounted starter homes will be launched. Houses in the Starter Homes Initiative will be sold at a minimum discount of 20 per cent to first-time home buyers aged between 23 and 40. They will have a 15-year repayment period and if they are sold in this time period, some or all of the discount must be repaid. This is done to prevent speculative house purchases.

Shared ownership homes will be targeted at first-time buyers who need them most, for those with a household income of less than £80,000, or £90,000 in London.

In April, the Lifetime ISA will be introduced to further help first-time buyers save up a deposit. The government will pay a 25 per cent bonus on top of savings of up to £4,000 a year.

Rental market

The paper confirms that letting agent fees to tenants will be banned “as soon as parliamentary time allows”. Efforts will also be made to make the private rental sector more family friendly by encouraging longer tenancies. Longer tenancies for families would mean that they would avoid the costs associated with moving and not have to regularly change their children’s school.  Planning rules will be altered to make it easier for councils to plan long-term ‘Build to rent’ homes.

If you would like information about how any of the proposals could affect you, call our Market Harborough based estate agency today on 01858 450020.