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Georgia Owen

Society of Mortgage Professionals react to Housing White Paper

Georgia Owen

17
Mar

TC261016solicitor

The Society of Mortgage Professionals (SMP) have hesitantly welcomed the recent publication of the housing White Paper.

The Professional Body for those working within the mortgage market has viewed the documents’ publication as an indicator that the situation is now being taken seriously by the government.

SMP’s head of operations, Vishal Pandya, commented on the desired changes he hopes the White Paper will help motivate within the market.

According to a report from Mortgage Introducer, Pandya stated: “The housing crisis is now at its worst point and if the White Paper helps to stimulate some much-needed changes, we will have an opportunity to take a tangible step forward.”

He also mentioned that the paper had acknowledged the need to prioritise, among other things, the availability of a skilled construction workforce to reach the supply target.

“The two are inextricably linked, but there will be little chance of achieving the government’s target of 250,000 new homes a year unless we have sufficient workers to build them.

“Right now, we are locked in a Catch-22 situation, where low levels of construction means fewer people working in the industry and therefore house building is not increasing.

“Of parallel concern is that although some 270,000 new homes a year are given planning permission, only half are being built.”

Pandya also highlighted the papers’ lack of focus on the current economic climate, despite the wide range of factors contributing to the current state of the housing market.

By opening up the market to smaller builders and developers, the SMP also looked at the delivery of accommodation through more diverse routes, supporting innovation and more efficient building methods.

Pandya stated: “It is encouraging to hear that the CML is going to be working to support the initiative and we hope that lenders will be willing to help people looking to build their own homes or consider loans for modular or factory built homes.

“The White Paper proposal for each area to come up with its own plans for house building would also be a positive step forward.

“After all, needs should be assessed locally as different regions can have dramatically varied requirements.

“The formula for working out housing needs is currently opaque, meaning that it cannot be broadly calculated on a national basis. Breaking it down regionally would help identify the right places for homes.”

Although the head of operations went on to commend the White Paper’s mention of ‘build to rent’ and the creation of properties for all tenures, he stated that the SMP were also concerned that it could be counter-intuitive in the long term.

“For while it proposes encouragement of properties for all tenures on the one hand, landlords who are facing higher tax bills will be forced to put up rents on the other.”

Pandya concluded by stating: “Overall the housing White Paper is a positive step in the right direction and as future consultations take place and more details emerge, I am sure this will go towards making up the deficit in UK house building.

“That being said, it is absolutely vital that we build on the momentum created by this paper to ensure it does not become a wasted exercise.”

 

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