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Labour’s election win presents key opportunity for housing reform

Keir Starmer, the newly elected Prime Minister, is positioned to address Britain’s housing crisis, leveraging Labour’s substantial parliamentary majority to implement significant reforms. Jonathan Rolande, of the National Association of Property Buyers, asserts that this political mandate can potentially rescue a generation struggling to achieve homeownership.

A Generation’s Struggle
Rolande expressed his concerns: “The appalling state of housing cannot be swept under the carpet any longer. The average first-time buyer is in their mid-thirties, and if things continue as they have been, children today won’t be buying until they are in their 50s, if ever.” He highlighted the urgency for action, noting, “Starmer now has a golden opportunity to drive through the planning and housing reforms relatively unopposed.”

Rolande also predicted some turbulence in the property market: “This will cause some ripples in the property market. Buyers and especially investors do not like change. Predictability is key for landlords, house builders and developers, and a lack of confidence is contagious; it soon affects homebuyers too.”

Calls for Swift Action
Ryan Etchells, Chief Commercial Officer at Together, stressed the importance of rapid progress in the new government’s early days. “Now that there is certainty over the next administration, there is a need for strong leadership to show swift action and delivery on promises made,” he said. Etchells urged Starmer to prioritise increasing the housing stock to meet rising demands, emphasising Labour’s promise to build 1.5 million homes over the next parliament. “We need to see a radical overhaul of the broken planning system to speed up town hall decision-making by removing red tape and unlocking opportunities for developers.”

Leasehold Reforms on the Horizon
Mark Chick, director of ALEP (the Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners), anticipated significant changes in the residential leasehold sector. “It seems a fairly safe bet that the next five years will see a more vigorous programme of reform in the residential leasehold sector,” he noted. Chick expects an acceleration of commonhold legislation and possible new laws to phase out leasehold for new properties. “ALEP remains ready to engage with government and we look forward to meeting with the new Secretary of State for Housing and Ministers to ensure that any new legislation is fit for purpose.”

Guy Gittins, of Foxtons, also shared his optimism regarding Labour’s victory: “This morning’s news of Labour’s victory in the election should prove positive for the London sales market. Labour’s manifesto demonstrated a strong focus on business and economic growth, which is very promising.”

The Path Forward
As Labour prepares to embark on its ambitious housing agenda, industry experts underscore the need for balanced and thoughtful implementation. Rolande concluded with cautious optimism: “Good landlords will be rewarded, bad ones driven out. As more homes become available and the pressure on prices and rents eases, younger people will have a proper chance to buy or rent a decent home, put down roots, and have something worth working for.”

With these potential reforms, UK landlords and prospective homeowners alike are advised to stay informed and engaged as the housing market navigates this period of anticipated transformation.