Date Published 14 March 2014
A major theme for this year's Budget needs to be the supply of homes and more specifically, mobility in the property market. Having a place to call home is of utmost importance to every one of us, whether we own or rent.
To ensure this is possible and affordable, the Government needs to address the restrictions people face when finding a place to live.
NAEA and ARLA members are therefore calling on the Chancellor to support mobility in the property market by:
Addressing the unfair and hugely expensive Stamp Duty slab structure which restricts home ownership; and reiterating support for institutional investment in the private rented sector by fully regulating the industry
Affordability is a central issue and the introduction of the Government's Help to Buy scheme has offered a welcome boost to buyer confidence. However, costly barriers still need to be addressed – namely the thousands of pounds demanded up front in Stamp Duty.
Stamp Duty, in its current ‘slab structure', distorts the UK housing market, acts as a barrier to first-time buyers and therefore restricts the demand to build new homes. Help to Buy is a good temporary measure, but tackling the unfair and hugely expensive Stamp Duty is an achievable, long-term and sustainable way to support access to, and mobility up, the housing ladder.
For those who choose to rent, or cannot afford to buy, many will have experienced first-hand the tight supply of the UK rental market. Demand for private rented housing has seen sustained and consistent growth over the past five years. For the first time since the 1960s, more people now live in private rented accommodation than in social housing, with 3.8 million tenants – a 30% rise over the last five years.
Pressures are acute, and yet the industry remains unregulated. Restricted supply leads to increases in rogue landlords and the number of tenants forced to choose inadequate properties.
ARLA has always campaigned against poor practice and our members adhere to a professional code of conduct. As a consequence, we urge the Government to introduce a full mandatory regulation of agents. Regulation will bring two key benefits: better standards for those using industry services and, a much needed stamp of professionalism and quality on the lettings industry which will help trigger the much-needed investment in a large-scale development of homes by professional organisations. The industry needs to be seen as stable, attractive and above all comprehensively regulated in order for significant investment to be secured. This needs to happen so that we all have a place to live.
Lesters and the partners are active members of NAEA and ARLA.