While many of the headline initiatives in today’s housing strategy appear to be those discussed previously, at least it gives us clarity on which proposals Government has decided to take forward and forms a coherent plan of action.
Steps to help first time buyers secure new homes with lower deposits will, in principle, boost the stagnating housing market. But with many banks still taking an ultra cautious approach on mortgages, I’ll be interested to see how the Government and housebuilders can get funders to commit to the scheme on a scale required to have a real impact.
The £400m pot of funding to help restart stalled construction projects, on top of money already committed, is a welcome measure. We were recently appointed to take over the construction of a housing scheme in Lancashire which had stalled at an early stage when the previous developer went bust.
After lying mothballed for a several years, we’re now seeing the positive benefits for the community on getting the scheme going again and the jobs it is creating.
Measures to improve fairness in social housing, take action on empty homes, and support the private rented sector are long overdue and will also be welcomed.
However, at a time when we’re facing a chronic housing shortage, and where generating activity in the housing market is the key to restoring economic growth and confidence, I believe the effectiveness of the housing strategy will ultimately be judged on the number of new homes delivered.
Greg Mulligan is a director of Mulbury Homes.