May 15

5 things David Cameron MUST do for the London property market

Property pundits speak out

1. Unlock more regeneration projects

Robert Bartlett, group CEO of Chestertons:

“With David Cameron returning to Downing St with a slender overall majority after a better-than-predicted performance and catastrophic losses for Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg’s parties, the property industry has issued a collective sigh of relief that the proposed new levy on higher-value homes and swingeing reforms to the rental market including direct rent caps will now be shelved.

“There are still issues to be addressed in the property sector in London, not least the need to boost housing supply, make the rental market more transparent and accessible, and unlocking opportunities for regeneration through a joined-up approach to planning and infrastructure delivery. We hope the new Government will continue to work with the property sector and consult properly on proposed changes so together we ensure that any new policies will work as they are intended and can help deliver the long-term sustainable growth and sensible innovations that our industry requires.”

2. Don’t ignore UK renters

Matt Hutchinson, director of flat and house share site

“A Tory majority is a worry for UK renters. The Conversatives’ pledges all but ignore the 11 million people in rented accommodation – in particular their concerns around rising rents and letting agents’ fees – with a tunnel-vision focus on home ownership.

“Trying to get people on to the property ladder is the only box ticked. A supply shortage has led to unbelievable strain on the rental market over the past five years. The Tories need to act fast to ensure renters have access to affordable housing and are better protected from rent rises, particularly when interest rates rise and landlords see their mortgage repayments go up.”

3. Halt rogue landlords

Glynis Frew, managing director of Hunters Property Group:

“We welcome a Conservative victory as this will bring some much needed stability to the property market, and from stability comes growth. We look forward to seeing the extension of Right to Buy to 1.3m housing association homes in England, and more importantly, the introduction of 200,000 starter homes by 2020. We anticipate this will have a massive impact on the market. What’s more, The Government’s Stamp Duty reforms announced in December last year have already had a positive effect on the housing market, so we are pleased this will stay in place.”

“In terms of lettings, although the threat to ban tenant fees by Labour was intended to assist tenants the reality is it would have had a detrimental effect on not just the service tenants could have expected on application but also in longer term. There are many pieces of legislation already in existence to halt rogue agents and landlords and we should ensure these are actioned before we introduce more legislation; there is more than enough already and we hope the Tories keep this in mind before introducing anything further”.

4. Deliver more houses

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation:

“We worked successfully with the Conservatives as part of the coalition and look forward to continuing that relationship to tackle the key issues impacting on our sector.

“We would like to see the government prioritise a coherent plan to deliver increased housing supply; to follow through on the commitment to fundamentally review business rates, and take action to put in place the right infrastructure – including real estate – that will allow our country to thrive.

“Our industry has the potential to significantly increase the amount of housing in the UK, regenerate our towns and cities, and contribute significantly to the economy if it is provided with the right legislative framework, and we look forward to working with the next government to achieve this.”

5. Deliver on promise of freeing up Brownfield sites for development

Michelle van Vuuren, managing director of residential development at Sotheby’s International Realty UK:

“A Conservative victory – whether outright or otherwise – will give the housing market what it wants: stability. The removal of the uncertainty that has clouded the last year of the Coalition will allow developers to plan confidently for the medium term with a consistent economic policy. Having said that, we do hope to see the Tories come good on their annual pledge of 200,000 new homes and freeing up Brownfield sites for development.

“Increasing the supply of homes is the only way to truly overcome the hurdles that the housing market places for the majority of buyers. At the top end  – for the next five years at least – a cessation of the clamour for a Mansion Tax will see a number of transactions that have stalled to come back on line as certitude creeps back into the market. It is going to be an exciting time to be in the London market over the Summer!  ​We are already taking calls from international buyers who want to get back into the market.”