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Sunak’s Massive Housing Challenge Before Next Election

There is a real difficulty for Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party at the moment. 

After 14 years in power, any failings land squarely at their door. “There is an almost universal consensus that the property market, and housing in general, are not in a satisfactory state. 

With rents very high, buy-to-let mortgages through the roof, prices falling, and new build volumes inadequate, this is a property market that suits almost nobody. 


It’s a toxic mix for Mr Sunak ahead of the election. The Prime Minister might want to make property a key battleground at the next election, but he really does face a mammoth task in convincing voters this Government has the answers.

Conservatives are thought traditionally to be the party of home ownership. Whilst this aspiration may still be there, policies to assist with ownership, such as Help2Buy, have all but backfired as any savings were wiped out by price increases.

The post-Covid Stamp Duty holiday was the same. Dropping house-building targets has weakened supply, again increasing costs. Slow wage growth has not kept pace with prices, so we are in a housing crisis. 

Traditional perceptions of the parties need to be revised. Low taxes and homeownership are no longer a staple of the Tories in Government.

Labour is trying to portray themselves as the party with strict fiscal policy and the target to increase homeownership. It means traditional positions are being turned on their head.

Environmental regulation for housebuilders and dropping EPC improvements for landlords will win some approval in those sectors. Still, the detrimental effects – or at least the perception of them – may lose more votes than it gains. In other words, for every landlord you please, there is a higher number of tenants who have lost out.

The 2019 election may well be fresh in the minds of many but those voting for the first time next year would have been 13 years old when Corbyn took on Johnson last time. The 2019 General Election saw a turnout of around 47% amongst voters aged 18-24 who will be 23 – 29 this time around. In years gone by that was the prime time for buying a home – not so now. 

Since 2019 it has become harder to buy for the first time, the party that cuts through and seems to give the most hope of home ownership will do well amongst this group.

* Jonathan Rolande is the founder of House Buy Fast and a spokesman for the National Association of Property Buyers *

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    Right now people need a roof over their heads. With mortgage rates so high and the HTB buyers facing mortgage hikes so big they have to sell, the government need to do something at the lower end of the market ASAP.

    More people than ever are going to need the PRS so now would be an awfully good time to stop attacking landlords and restore a system whereby we aren't in quite such a rush to exit the industry. Scrap Section 24, slow down on any reforms or abolition of Section 21, make grants available for energy saving upgrades (at least loft insulation and decent heating programmers), reinstate taper relief on CGT or zero rate it after 25 years of ownership. Abolish the 3% SDLT surcharge. Return the PRS to an industry normal people aspire to be part of.

    Reassess bedroom entitlement and room size legislation. Should occupation of a room that has been happily occupied for the last 100 years be prohibited just because it has a sloping ceiling and no longer has a big enough countable floor area? Do whatever it takes to ensure the best utilisation of the housing stock we have. Build more retirement housing so people can downsize easily, level the tax playing field so some Airbnbs return to the standard rental market, rationally assess what to do with the huge numbers of empty homes in the North. Is it financially viable to return them to a habitable condition?
    Reassess the LHA. Should there be an equivalent for home owners? This government encouraged people to buy houses that were far more expensive than a FTB could normally afford. Now their economic policies have failed quite so spectacularly is it really morally right those HTB owners should bear the brunt of government ineptitude?


    How is it that someone who make such common sense observations about the PRS isn't appointed to a government office with responsibility for the PRS – rather than the inept and ignorant politicians who are totally indifferent or too stupid to realise the damage that they cause to a system that was a few years ago functioning reasonably well (except for court delays) for landlords AND tenants

  • Peter Lewis

    It’s no good Labour playing the holier than thou stance, Welsh Labour combined with Plaid Cymru who are in charge in Wales are in the same boat, and in a far worse position. However they appear to blame all of their woes on immigration from England and second home owners, and take no responsibility for the lack of new social housing or draconian planning rules. Because as we all know that it is never the Politicians fault and the new whipping boys of the day are Private Landlords.

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    * Get rid of the SNP and Greens in Scotland ✔️

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    This is a small country, and a lot is very hilly and mountainous.

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    I think say labour are going to win the GE, then we are really in it

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    How much housing would 8 million pounds a day spent on so called refugees buy?

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    The Conservatives brought this on themselves started by that idiotic George Osborn.


    Absolutely agree entirely. Section 24 destroyed buy to let. It was tried in Ireland and not only reversed but budget next week likely to have a reduced tax rate for small landlords.
    It's crazy to interfere in the residential buy to let market. If you are making a loss with house prices falling there is only one option.

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    Let’s not forget Leasehold which Gove said he’s abolish and then back peddled to intimate some watering down of it or nothing. There’s around 4m people stuck in leasehold properties that they cannot sell. That’s a lot of votes.

  • Matthew Payne

    There isnt much the Tories can do other than the biggest U turn we have ever seen and bin most of their PRS policy over the last 8 years, which would actually be thr right thing to do and would have a very positive effect on all the indices we endlessly discuss. However, they wont, as 2.6m irritated landlords many of whom will still vote Conservative as the alterntive is too awful to consider, is a much smaller number than 10m mainly young Labour/LibDem voting tenants who can easily be swayed blinded by the naivety of youth. Worry about rents at £1300pcm and homlessness spiralling out of control until after the election.

    Satire aside, the smart political money would be on winning the 2024 GE on the back of the Renters Reform Bill and then with a new mandate for 5 years, repeal the whole lot straight after, section 24, the lot to tackle the crisis they have created which would appeal to landlords immediately and then all tenants anyway as they would see supply increase and rents drop, everyones a winner. They would just need to be brave and forget about the May 2025 County Council elections and accept thats a price that will have to be paid as the reversal will take time. Ultimately the problem with the UK is there are too many elections getting in the way of formulating the correct policies with the right convictions.

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    There's nothing any party could do now to persuade me to stay in this game. I'm getting out as soon as I can. It's only gong to get worse

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    The problems in the housing market are made worse by a government that has allowed in 250,000-300,000 migrants each year, ignoring the effects of Ukraine and Hong Kong. That ignores the 50,000 migrants crossing the Channel in small boats. They all need somewhere to live. The government has only built around 120,000 houses each year so it is blindingly obvious that additional pressure from UK population growth is going to push up rental and house ownership prices. Stop immigration for 3 years to get back stability in the housing market - the only exceptions would be seasonal migrants that want to come here to pick fruit and vegetables.


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