Brokers warn govt housing targets are 'unattainable'

According to an economic analysis in 2015 by the Institute of Fiscal Studies into the original right-to-buy scheme, by the mid-2000s, around 2.8mn council houses had been sold in the UK.

That same 33-page document - The right to buy public housing in Britain: a welfare analysis - stated: "The private housing market is competitive. The profit of constructing a property and selling it is zero."

Little wonder the local authority coffers did not stretch to swathes of new builds; the Statista analysis revealed that, by the end of 2019, local authorities had built just 3,800 homes, compared with 172,010 from private enterprises (see graph, below).

However, these builds are still below the "at least 200,000 per year" that the 2004 Barker Review stated were needed in the UK.

Adamson called on the housing minister, whose responsibility it is to ensure planning policy and casework oversight, to do more. 

He said: "If the government really wants to turn its words into actions and help tackle the housing crisis, it needs to invest money into local authorities so that they can open up land for their communities on which private investors are ready and willing to build much-needed new homes – that’s the only sustainable way to bring down the cost of housing.”

The latest minister, Stuart Andrew, MP for Pudsey, joined the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities from the role of deputy chief whip after Prime Minister Boris Johnson's latest reshuffle.

But this this is the 20th housing minister since 1997 - raising questions of stability of leadership from the top down when it comes to setting, establishing and seeing government policies through.

Stuart Collar-Brown, director and co-founder of My Auction, said while the recent interest rate rise could "put the brakes" on the property market, the real issue, again, is the lack of supply.

"It’s these shortages that normally push prices up with more competition in the market, and a trend that we expect to see continue over the coming months.”

No better for renters

Their comments were echoed by those of lettings specialist, Tim Hassell, managing director of Draker Lettings, who said there had been a "consistent decline" in available properties in and around London, with little support available for buy-to-let investors.

He also brought the problem to Whitehall's door, claiming: "With available property levels in consistent decline, the government needs to do more, not for tenants, but for the landlords who no longer wish to invest in this sector."

He said prices have increased by 17 per cent in central London in the first quarter of 2022 so far. "Choices down equates to prices up, which in turn puts huge pressure on people coming to London to relocate, especially the young and more vulnerable."