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IMLA: Lenders and brokers call for independent housing department

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  • 10/11/2016
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IMLA: Lenders and brokers call for independent housing department
Lenders and intermediaries have called for the creation of an independent housing department with less party-political influence.

A survey carried out by the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) found 59% of lenders and 48% of brokers felt this would be the best solution to the constant ministerial reshuffles they believe has negatively impacted government housing policy.

Since 2010, the role of housing minister has been held by six different politicians, with Gavin Barwell becoming the latest person to assume the position in July this year.

Additionally, 52% of lenders believed reinstating the role of housing minister to a cabinet-level role would help reduce the lack of cohesion in developing effective housing policy.

Both lenders and brokers said they wanted the government to push private house building higher up on the agenda with lenders saying it should be the ‘chief concern.’

Lenders also saw social housing and shared ownership as major areas that needed addressing, while brokers wanted more focus shifted on to last-time buyers.

IMLA’s research also found lenders had higher expectations than brokers that the Bank of England’s (BoE) Financial Policy Committee will be given powers of direction in the buy-to-let market by the treasury.

Two-thirds of lenders saw this happening by 2017 with only 38% of brokers expecting the same.

Peter Williams, executive director of IMLA, said: “The Government’s lack of a clear, structured housing policy has been an elephant in the room for some time now. Successive administrations have made pledges and promises to change this, but it’s never been fully followed through with any real comprehensive long term policy.”

Regulation of the market also came under fire as 59% of lenders and 58% of brokers felt current regulation has blurred the lines of accountability and responsibility.

Williams added: “It is time to draw this to a close and ask the question about whether regulation has become overbearing and is starting to stifle innovation. The upcoming Competition Review provides an appropriate opportunity for reflection.”

He concluded that responsibly for the lack of direction in housing policy should not fall solely on the housing minister. Williams called for the Chancellor to address the housing supply issue in his forthcoming Autumn Statement.

 

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