Autumn Statement 2016: IMLA reaction

Peter Williams

November 23, 2016

Peter Williams is executive director of IMLA

IMLA welcomes the chancellor’s promises to confront the housing challenge head-on, but the wait continues for a realistic long-term strategy.

Successive governments have failed to address the imbalance between supply and demand in the market, which is heavily influenced by lacklustre housebuilding.

Plans for a new infrastructure fund to support housebuilding in areas of high demand, in addition to a homebuilders’ fund, are a positive step and show a commitment to overcoming these challenges.

But as is often the case, a handful of Budget or Autumn Statement policies won’t fix one of the biggest domestic challenges facing the UK.

Following the Redfern Review last week, the upcoming housing white paper from government simply has to deliver tangible change.

The government still needs to prove it genuinely possesses the will to address the fundamental challenges facing the housing market and will not resort to short term populist policies that stoke tensions between housing tenures.

Unintended consequences may again be on the cards for the private rental sector if banning letting agents’ fees adds to the upward pressure on rents.

For now, the renewed focus on housebuilding will be welcomed by the mortgage market, which IMLA’s recent research identified as a priority from both lenders’ and brokers’ perspective.

It is simply impossible to deliver on homeownership ambitions without tangible action to build more homes, rather than attempting to rein in house prices by restricting access to mortgage finance and dampening demand.

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