Mullucks Wells are calling for a more consistent approach to government housing policy, after the appointment of the 17th housing minister in 20 years.
The latest incumbent in the post is North West Hampshire MP Kit Malthouse, following Dominic Raab’s appointment as Secretary of State for Brexit.
Residential Director William Wells said: “Anyone wondering why there is a lack of cohesion in housing issues only needs to look at the ‘revolving door’ of ministers in the job. Without a unified approach, competing demands will inevitably mean inconsistent and even contradictory policy.
“For example, the government needs the rising revenues delivered by stamp duty land tax, but it has hit the top of the market hard with eye-watering rates on more expensive properties, as well as extra levies for second homes and buy-to-let purchases.
“This has made it harder for people to own additional properties, which means that we have far fewer landlords around than 12 months ago. What’s more, the Government’s Right to Buy scheme allowing council tenants to buy the properties they are living in for a discounted price means we are losing council housing too. This toxic combination means that rental prices will inevitably rise.”
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) recently said that letting agents have reported a drop in rental properties coming to the market for the 21st consecutive month in July, and predicted rents could rise by 15% in the next five years.
William Wells added: “Frustratingly, the government has already stumbled upon an answer to the problem. Earlier this year, a recent Treasury select committee concluded that ‘the only sustainable way to address housing market affordability, both for first-time buyers and other households, including those in the rental sector, is to significantly increase the supply of new housing.’
“So we should be building more council houses, whilst retaining the council housing that we have already got. Home ownership has been the bed rock of the British way of life, and a long term and joined-up policy is nothing less than the country deserves.”