We need a new ministry of housing to tackle property crisis – expert

The next Government should create a Ministry of Housing and encourage MPs of all parties to work together to solve the country’s property crisis.

That’s the verdict of one of the country’s leading property experts – who says the next Prime Minister needs to make housing a priority from day one.

Jonathan Rolande, the founder of House Buy Fast, said: “We can’t say for sure who will be heading into Number Ten. But there is one issue which millions of people can agree on, and that’s the importance of addressing the country’s housing crisis.

“There is a chronic shortage in the supply of new homes which is denying an entire generation the right to own their own property.

“This, in turn, is leading to rental prices in some areas soaring to new highs. We are now seeing situations, regularly, where dozens of people are fighting to let a very average property for a staggering sum, just so they can get a roof over their head.

“This isn’t sustainable.  And it’s not acceptable. That’s why the very first priority from day one, for whoever wins the Election, must be to start building new homes. That is the first thing I’d like to see.

“The second, which will be key to ensuring those homes can be built, is a root and branch review and transformation of the planning application system that stifles builders. We need policies which ensure builders can get spades in the ground.

“Third, I’d like to see the next Government create a new Ministry for Housing and have cross-party involvement within it. Politicians should all agree that we  need more affordable housing and they should be working together, outside of party politics, to deliver it.

“Four, we need a housing minister who is in it for the long haul. In the last decade we’ve seen countless ministers come and go. The removal van outside the Housing Minister’s office has been doing overtime. We need stability and a long term strategy that delivers change and which provides solutions to our housing crisis.

“And, finally, we need to provide more incentives to encourage older homeowners to downsize. Whether that’s through stamp duty or tax benefits, we urgently need to find a way to ensure retired homeowners who want to move – can.

“Again and again I see cases where older homeowners are interested in moving and potentially releasing a property that would be snapped up quickly. But many are put off by the process and the associated costs of moving. When they sit down and crunch the numbers they decide downsizing is too difficult to justify. We need to change that.”