CML publishes housing 'manifesto'

The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) has published a ‘manifesto’ targeting political parties in advance of the next General Election.

The document, titled A housing market to be proud of details actions lenders believe politicians should take to deliver effective housing solutions.

It covers home-ownership, private renting, and social renting through separate social strata, including "the young, the old, and the in-betweeners", concluding that strategic public policy is the way to address the needs of these groups.

The biggest problem facing the young is the cost of housing, and the CML proposes that the government focus on measures to increase the supply of housing to meet demand, thus enabling young people to gain a foothold on the housing ladder, as well as reform stamp duty to reduce its burdens, distorting effects, and unintended consequences and recognise that, for many, shared equity/shared ownership is becoming a permanent tenure, rather than a stepping stone to full ownership.

For the old, the main issue is how to balance the competing considerations of income, the potential to release housing wealth, and care/housing need and the CML wants the government to address the regulatory stumbling blocks that relate to lending into retirement; promote better pathways between the mainstream mortgage market, lifetime mortgages, and downsizing; create opportunities for older households to downsize, promoting more efficient use of the housing stock; and ensure new housing supply fully reflects the needs and aspirations of an ageing population.

As for the in-betweeners, this group is finding it increasingly difficult to achieve home-ownership and financial security, or to move up the ladder if they do achieve it, so the document asks the government to reduce affordability barriers to transacting by reforming the application of stamp duty; watch for any unintended consequences of regulation on credit-worthy mortgage holders; work with industry to develop a more effective safety net against the risk of change in household circumstances; and ensure that policies affecting all tenures (such as welfare reform) are holistic and align with private sector markets.

The CML document ends by saying the government should recognise that while the UK housing market is a whole set of local markets, most of its finance is provided by national lenders who need standard operating frameworks and urges the next government to ensure that neither localism nor European regulation hinder the effective delivery of housing and housing finance.

CML director generalm Paul Smee, said: "There are many things that the mortgage industry can and will do to promote a healthy housing market. But it is also crucial to have strategic public policy for housing that is clear, deliverable, and long-term.

“We hope our thoughts will help to stimulate political thinking about practical ways to deliver the right types of housing, supported by the necessary finance, in the right locations – this is the only sustainable and permanent solution to housing affordability."

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