Jan Crosby, Head of Housing at KPMG comments on the announcement of measures by the Chancellor to kickstart housebuilding.
“The Chancellor’s announcements go some way to tackle one of the systemic issues at the core of Britain’s housing crisis: a lack of ‘shovel ready’ land. By streamlining the planning system for sites suitable for redevelopment, we will get more land into the hands of those who want to build high quality homes quickly.
“These measures have the potential to be transformative, kickstarting development on brownfield sites delivering both new housing and an improved urban environment.
“The changes will also give councils a stronger and more strategic role in shaping their local housing supply. Using the local development orders, they will decide what should be built and where. With this role comes responsibility: care must be taken to maintain a balance in the type and location of homes. Brownfield is not the sole answer and planning must continue to deliver a mix of housing locations and types – people must want to live where houses are planned.
“We are pleased to see New Homes Zones being rolled out across the country – as set out in our recent report with Shelter they have been used with success in Germany and the Netherlands to deliver game changing mechanisms to build more homes at an affordable price.
“Granting the Bank of England new powers to act on limiting mortgage loan to value and loan to income ratios is useful to control irrational exuberance, but there is no indication that there is an issue at the moment and other mechanisms may be better to use in most circumstances. The fact is that the level of house prices have already reached levels that cannot be afforded with 3x income mortgages – other than with a loan from mum and dad or with Help to Buy. Focusing on affordability stress tests is a better option in most circumstances.”
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