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Top property consultancy questions whether government policies will increase housing supply

Published: Thursday, 18th February 2016

Current government policies designed to increase housing supply may not achieve that goal, top property consultancy Savills has warned.

The company has also highlighted that changes in affordable housing definition and policy are “likely to leave a gap in housing provision for those on lower incomes”.

A research note just published by the company pointed out that ‘Help to Buy’, ‘Starter Homes’ and shared ownership would largely serve the same parts of the market. “As a result of the overlap, there is a risk that the schemes may not deliver additional homes”

The assessment also argued there was a risk that the ‘Starter Homes’ policy could distort the new homes sales market, “without significantly increasing the number of new homes delivered overall”.

Savills added: “uncertainty surrounding the details of these schemes, including future affordable housing requirements alongside ‘Starter Homes’ makes the appraisal of land values a challenge.”

The note also questioned the impact on housing supply of the new focus of house building on first time buyers via the ‘Starter Homes’ initiative.

Savills’ researchers said: “Simply replacing homes which would have been delivered anyway through existing routes, namely in the open market via ‘Help to Buy’ or as affordable housing through s106 agreements, will not provide additional homes.

“In fact by narrowing the focus of house building to first time buyers we risk creating the reverse effect and reducing the number of new homes built”.

View the Savills policy response (pdf)

Roger Milne