SPECIAL FEATURE: The election battle
Election day is almost upon us and every political party in the race for Downing Street are busy each trying to dominate the headlines with their pledges and promises they hope will sway the voters on May 7th.
One topic certain to clinch this general election is the future of the property market. Supply has been overshadowed by a sudden surge of demand over recent years which has led to a sharp increase in property prices that has exceeded the means of most first time buyers.
In 2014, a total of 118,770 new homes were built, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government. It sounds a lot, but it’s less than half the annual industry-accepted figure that is required in order to tackle the housing shortage.
Whilst this has created low mortgage rates and a sense of increasing value of properties between home owners and boost to the economy through their increased spending, it does leave many first-time buyers into expensive and insecure renting or forces them to remain living with parents.
The issues faced are obvious to the electorate, but who can provide the answers to these problems may ultimately secure the vote.
The Conservative Party
Currently in power, the Conservative Party have carefully marketed themselves as the friend of home owners, introducing a stamp-duty overhaul that benefits 98% of them. Shared equity and loan guarantee schemes, Help to Buy, and accompanying ISA formed a key part of the Budget in March as well as promises of discount homes for first-time buyers.
By 2020, the Conservatives have promised to build 200,000 starter homes for first-time buyers, more garden cities and a further 400,000 new units from brownfield land.
The Labour Party
Mansion Tax and a promise of a building boom are the promises of the Labour Party. Three times in their manifesto the term ‘Housing crisis’ was used. It is their plan to sway the army of first time buyers onto their side through a predicted 200,000 homes per year with Ed Miliband promising to make the issue a priority of his government.
Introducing a tax on properties valued at £2 million or more, Labour go on to say that they will dampen prices at the top end of the market.
The Liberal Democrats
Having previously stated that a coalition would still be on the table should a need arise, the Lib Dems are keen also to promote their own agenda and make it clear that they are serious contenders in this election. Promising 300,000 new homes per year, Nick Clegg has gone on to state that at least 10 garden cities would be built.
Also wanting a Mansion Tax, it has been stated in their manifesto that the predicated £1.7bn raised from such a charge would be used to reduce the deficit.
Whilst clear all involved parties have strong views on the property market and are keen to show that they are willing to resolve its problems, it will not be a quick solution but a long term capability that will win over the general public.