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Green Belt development and council oversight needed to solve housing crisis – Aldermore

by: Charles McDowell, commercial director for mortgages at Aldermore
  • 09/08/2017
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Green Belt development and council oversight needed to solve housing crisis – Aldermore
Arguably the most pressing issue for much of the younger generation is the difficulty they face to get on the property ladder - politicians must re-engage with the younger generation on this matter.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the housing affordability ratio more than doubled between 1997 and 2016.

With demand currently outmatching supply, these difficulties are directly impacting first time buyers’ wellbeing – and this is being felt acutely.


Driving force

We believe strongly that first-time buyers are the driving force of the property market, but our latest quarterly First Time Buyer Index reveals just how hard buying a first home has become and is likely to remain for the foreseeable future.

It emphasises just how hard things are for aspiring first time buyers as more than one in five (22%) currently live with their parents in order to save enough to be able to get on the property ladder.

Of those, a quarter (26%) say they will have to live with their family for five or more years to save for a deposit, while one in ten (10%) expect to live with their family for three to four years.

This situation is unlikely to get better as almost a third (31%) strongly agree that buying a home is unachievable for them at the moment and this hasn’t changed over the course of twelve months.


Low confidence

It is therefore understandable that some feel displaced and undervalued.

Low levels of confidence among this group will have ramifications further up the housing chain so it’s imperative that more support is offered.

It is fundamental that government acts to address these problems.

We await the outcome of the Housing White Paper but the policy-making process can be slow and at this stage what we need is action.


Build on Green Belt

I believe it is time to relax planning laws and selectively build on Green Belt land so that we are not left with a mismatched density in urban areas which then puts additional pressure on housing, property prices and infrastructure within effected areas.

Councils need to be held more accountable for housing needs in their area and this should be made clear in the National Planning Policy Framework.

This may require more oversight of the decisions made and the number of plans that are approved in each region.


Holistic approach

When we talk about providing enough housing it cannot be done in isolation.

There are infrastructure considerations that need to be made alongside planning proposals.

As well as homes, people need schools, transport and facilities. Policymakers need to stop considering each issue as a standalone problem and take a holistic perspective.

This is a long-term problem in the making and it needs a long-term solution that looks beyond the typical political horizon.

When it comes to housing, politicians need to paint a vision of the future that animates the younger generation – a vision that they can quite literally buy into.

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