New housing policies set to be announced

Published : 11th September 2014


The government is set to unveil new housing policies at this morning’s first session of the RESI 14 conference, one of the residential sector’s biggest events of the year.

The conference, held at the Celtic Manor resort in south Wales which last week hosted the NATO summit, will hear from housing minister Brandon Lewis who is making a 30-minute keynote speech to open the event.


He is expected to emphasis the government’s drive to increase transparency in the housing market by allowing three rival ombudsman-style services to operate across the sales sector for estate agents, and by making membership of one of those three mandatory for letting agents as well, from October 1.


The conference will also hear from Lucien Cook, head of residential research at Savills, who will issue a warning that although the market is recovering across the country, it owes much of that recovery to an unprecedented period of low interest rates and any likely rate rise in the next two to three years may present risks. 


Cook is warning that the two per cent interest rate rise hinted at by Bank of England govcernor Mark Carney - which may be implemented in small rises by late 2017 - “would add £2,360 to the annual interest paid by the average mortgaged owner occupier, squeezing existing household finances and making it much more expensive to take on more debt to move up the housing ladder.”


Cook also says that in London it already costs an average of £9,989 to pay to own a home. “The same two per cent rate rise would add £4,000 of interest to the average costs borne by those with a mortgage in the capital” he says.


Brandon Lewis is expected to steer clear of references to prices but he will be buoyed up by figures released this morning by the House Builders’ Federation which show that planning permissions for 56,647 new homes were granted in England in the second quarter of this year - the highest number for over six years. 


The figures, produced for HBF by construction analysts Glenigan, show that the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme in particular has increased demand for new homes, enabling builders to increase the rate at which existing sites are built out. However, whilst the overall number of plots getting permission is back to 2008 levels, the number of actual sites getting approval is lagging behind and remains low in comparison to six years ago.

(Article From Estate Agent Today Publication)