Will new policies help Londoners get on the housing ladder?

Prime Minister David Cameron addresses the Conservative Party conference in Manchester

Prime Minister David Cameron addresses the Conservative Party conference in Manchester - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Buying agent and property expert Henry Pryor doubts housing plans set out in David Cameron’s conference speech yesterday will do much to solve the capital’s housing crisis

It made for a rousing send-off on the last day of the Conservatives conference but the Prime Minister’s remarks will make better copy than they will a solution to the housing crisis.

Changes proposed to allow house builders to provide homes to sell rather than to rent as part of the Section 106 agreements that they almost always have as part of the planning consent won’t build more homes, just make some more available to young, first time buyers.

Like Right to Buy and controversial Help to Buy the latest echoes of announcements first mooted over a year ago won’t make homes generally more affordable - loose credit is responsible for the stratospheric house prices.

Clearly the £450,000 cap proposed by the Conservatives will make little difference to Londoners trying to scramble onto the housing ladder as most of them will have to find £50,000 worth of deposit to make this work.


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It’s not easy to see where the 20 percent discounts are going to come from either. Will there be sub-standard homes built for buyers unable to afford proper homes? Will their green credentials be watered down? Will developers be expected to take the hit directly or will there be a reduction in taxes paid?

There are so many competing pressures behind calls to build more – 330,000 net migration last year, 1.8 million families on social housing waiting lists, 409 buyers registered on the average estate agent’s books or 10 buyers for every home as some newspapers recently headlined. Whatever the true figures, homes have never been more expensive.

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If we built one million it might not be enough; so the next generation may well find that they need to find their own solutions. But it’s unlikely to involve the election of any political party campaigning on a promise to bring down house prices. Only Mr Market will deliver that.

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