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Party Positions on Bricks and Mortar

Wednesday, 15th April 2015

Categories: Market Analysis Property Prices Sales

Author: Kris White

The gloves are off, the sleeves are rolled up and the election bandwagon is well and truly rolling. As 7 May creeps ever closer, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of campaigning and find out what the big players really have in store should they get the keys to Number 10 next month.

When it comes to housing policy, there’s a huge divide among the major parties as to which direction the UK should head in with regard to property laws, construction and incentives and leg-ups for first-time buyers. The Tories are going all out for the first-time buyer vote with their proposed policy to allow buyers under 40 years old to purchase properties at 20% below market value. This would be funded by their pledge to build 200,000 starter homes specifically for this market.

Other parties are supplying more impressive figures with it comes to new housing with Labour, the Lib Dems and UKIP proposing construction of 200,000, 300,000 and 200,000 new homes each year respectively, with all parties favouring the introduction of new towns and garden cities to cope with increasing demand. UKIP is determined to protect greenbelt land and proposes incentives to build affordable housing on brownfield sites instead.

Unsurprisingly, the blue and purple corners are coming out against the mansion tax, while Labour has plans to get more heavy handed with owners of vacant properties – they intend to double the Council Tax charge for properties that are empty for over a year. UKIP has stretched this to five years, with a waver for landlords who reintroduce empty properties to the marketplace.

Labour seems to be the party most intent on fighting on behalf of renters, with a number of policies aimed at giving tenants more rights. Among these is introducing a cap on private sector rental increases, and also getting rid of estate agent letting fees, which can prove an extra financial burden to tenants already having to find large deposits and other fees. However, all parties seem to concur that tenancy agreements should be increased and rules tightened – with the Green Party pushing for 5-year tenancies, with a right to renew unless the landlord is selling the property of intends to move into it themselves.

With the election result still very much up in the air, the only certainty is that there will definitely be changes afoot for buyers, tenants, house builders and estate agents. It just remains to be seen exactly which changes will be implemented and who they will benefit.