The Housing Minister Brandon Lewis, who has returned to his post after the election, and a landlord himself, speaks to the London Real Estate Forum about the housing market.
“London is the most visited city in the world. A cultural and economic powerhouse that no other city can match. It’s also a magnet for domestic and international talent. Earlier this year the population reached 8.6 million, passing its 1939 peak earlier than experts predicted. That number is expected to rise to 9 million by 2020, and 10 million by 2030”, he said
“Such phenomenal strength can sometimes provoke fear and antipathy, but that’s wrong. London’s success should be celebrated, not resented. Emulated, not contained. But we must also recognise London’s success poses unique challenges for its future. Chief among these is the extraordinary pressure being placed on the capital’s housing stock.”
“There is only one way this increased pressure on the capital can be relieved, and that is by building more homes.”
Speaking on foreign investment. Mr Lewis said that a strong market like London’s will attract foreign buyers wanting to invest, but “all developers must now market new properties here in the UK first… but the last thing we would want to do is introduce illiberal, protectionist measures that would strangle investment in the market. Such a move wouldn’t just restrict home ownership – it was jeopardise the capital’s status as a world-class city, to the detriment of all Londoners.”
Mr Lewis sought to remind people that real progress is already being made on house building:
“More homes are being built in the capital across every tenure. New build completions in London rose to 18,700 in 2014, up 13% on the year before.
More importantly, figures from the Home Builders Federation show that 47,650 homes were granted planning approval on schemes of more than 10 units in 2014.
That’s a full 43% higher than 2013, and the highest annual total since the data started being collected in 2008.
The Mayor has also committed to deliver 100,000 affordable homes over his two terms. Almost 94,000 have already been provided.
Last year we provided the GLA with £1.1 billion because 2014 to 2015 saw the highest number of affordable homes delivered since current recorded stats began in 1991.
The GLA believes it’s probably the highest annual total for 34 years. That’s money well spent.”
Speaking about rental home market, Mr Lewis stated:
“On top of this we’ve established the Private Rented Sector Taskforce, which has facilitated ambitions to invest over £10 billion in new private rented homes, including 30 new entrants to the market.
The research firm Molior says 112 purpose-built private rent schemes in London as of February 2015, up almost 8% on the year before.
We want to see much more investment London’s private rented sector – and the last thing we will do is deter good landlords and investors by increasing red tape and unnecessary regulations such as rent controls, which is what the opposition were promising before the election.”
Read the full speech here
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