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IMLA: Government housing target must be ‘more ambitious’

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  • 24/02/2020
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IMLA: Government housing target must be ‘more ambitious’
The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) has reiterated what it believes should be the key housing priorities for government ahead of the Budget.

 

It urged government to be “more ambitious” with its housebuilding target of one million new homes being built over the five years of the current parliament session.

IMLA noted that with one million homes built over the previous five years and a total of 240,000 in 2018-19, it appeared the industry was already on course to break the target without government assistance.

Kate Davies, executive director of IMLA said the 11 March Budget was a chance for the Conservative government to step forward and fix the housing market which they have previously admitted is broken.

“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,” she added.

 

Stamp duty and affordability

The lender trade body also called for a review of stamp duty tax take and its impact on transactions, arguing that a revamped structure could reduce current barriers to moving without significantly impacting tax revenues.

It also repeated its call for an overhaul of the affordability and stress testing rules, arguing that this had been a major factor in the decline in homeownership among younger people.

However, data from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) released last week showed that lenders were generally using higher loan to income limits to support richer borrowers at the expense of first-time buyers.

 

Other areas IMLA is urging the government to prioritise are:

The future of Help to Buy. The Help to Buy scheme phase out starts in 2021 and IMLA noted it is not yet clear what will replace it. The government has announced proposals for a First Homes scheme, which will rely heavily on local planning authorities and developers. Many questions remain about how it will be delivered in practice.

Supporting the Private Rented Sector. IMLA argued the private rented sector is a vital part of the housing market and that government must avoid any further regulatory or tax changes that could push landlords out.

Supporting the public rented sector. More social housing needs to be built in order to ‘re-balance’ the housing market. This needs to be part of the overall vision to achieve a sensible, balanced approach to housebuilding that appropriate housing is available to everyone, whatever their financial circumstances.

 

 

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