Health of the housing market is priority

Nia Williams

November 21, 2011

Commenting, Grenville Turner, chief executive of Countrywide, said: “We welcome the fact that the Coalition has finally recognised the importance that the housing market plays in the regeneration of the UK economy and in particular job creation and has taken measures to support this.

“The measures announced today are a step in the right direction and address the key fundamental issues that have restricted the housing market in recent years– housing supply and the requirements of high level of deposits– have both been addressed. We wholly support the focus around raising the availability of new stock in both the sales and rental markets and the measures announced to assist first time buyers onto the property ladder.

“The government need to ensure that their promise of increasing house building is followed through and not restricted by planning red tape.

“Whilst the proposed new build indemnity scheme is a welcomed boost to homebuilders and prospective buyers, at a time where deposit affordability has remained a significant barrier to not only first time buyers, it is disappointing to see a lack of measures to assist the vast majority of homemovers.

“A stamp duty holiday for all homebuyers up to £250,000 by would have been a welcomed boost to the resale market and should still be considered.

“We also welcome the consideration of tax break measures for buy-to-let investors. With an average of five tenants competing for each available rental property, any Government support to encourage investment in the buy-to-let sector will help to relieve the supply and demand imbalance.

“The proposed introduction of a council tax premium on homes that have been empty for more than two years is not before time. Empty homes have blighted towns and cities across the country and we are pleased that the government are now addressing this chronic issue which could reintroduce thousands of properties back into a habitable condition.

“We may be in the midst of a rental boom and some may argue that renting has become the new norm, however, we have seen that there is still a serious appetite for homeownership in the UK and we hope that the Government will continue to view the health of the housing market as a priority.”

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