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A Labour win: The implications for housing


So Labour are now the government, but what does that mean for the housing sector? It’s notable that Keir Starmer opted not to include housing in his ‘six steps’ to transforming the country when the party’s manifesto was published, much like his opponent Rishi Sunak who likewise omitted housing from his ‘five pledges.’

Nonetheless, deeper in the manifesto housing was addressed, and there are signs it will make housing a priority in its time in power, perhaps unsurprisingly, given the number of frustrated young would-be homeowners out there.

The party has promised to build 1.5 million new homes over the course of a five-year parliament and its manifesto suggests local authorities will once again be set housebuilding targets, abolished under Rishi Sunak. There will be an extra 300 planning officers, funded with a 1% stamp duty rise for overseas buyers of UK property.

The party has also promised a new generation of “new towns” which will be chosen by the end of this year, and compulsory purchase rules changed to assist in their development. Key could be the abolition of ‘hope value,’ whereby landowners must be compensated on the basis of what could be built on their land, rather than what’s currently there.

There will be a review of green belt areas, with some of the land designated ‘grey belt,’ unattractive areas where development is currently banned but may not be so in future. Local people will be granted the first chance to buy new homes “to end the farce of entire developments being sold off to international investors before houses are even built.” Labour is also promising a permanent mortgage guarantee scheme to replace the temporary one currently in place.

On the environment, Labour famously dropped many of its ambitions in the run up to the election, but it does say it will “implement solutions to unlock the building of new homes affected by nutrient neutrality without weakening environmental protections.” It hasn’t said how as yet, but it now has five years to decide.

Facing the cameras following Labour’s win overnight, Starmer ambitiously claimed “change begins immediately.” Ultimately, though, successive governments have floundered on housebuilding plans for years, which brings us to where we are today. A Starmer government is likely to suffer exactly the same challenges.

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