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Editor’s note: Fix the housing shortage and you’ll get my vote

By the time this magazine lands on your desk, we will be just one day away from the 8 June general election vote when the country decides which party should lead the way on many crucial policy decisions, most notably around Brexit.

I won’t be pinning my colours to the mast here but, whatever your political persuasion, I’m sure we are all united in wanting the issue of housing supply addressed for the benefit of all aspects of the market.

Various aspirational housebuilding totals are being promised in manifestos, with Labour suggesting it can provide one million new homes in five years.

While this figure may be difficult to achieve – given that the average number of houses built in recent years topped out at 150,000 per annum – it would provide a serious boost to the industry if it came to fruition and would go a long way towards fixing our ‘broken’ housing market.

I must agree with our regular contributor, Pad Bamford, who highlighted in his column last week that a cross-party approach was needed in order to devise a realistic plan for addressing the supply shortage, which has been rolling on for some time without an adequate solution.

Not only do we need a practical approach to delivering new homes but, with fewer high loan-to-value mortgages on the market since the end of the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee, the newly elected government would do well to focus on innovative schemes to support first-time buyers.

The need for help in getting on the first rung of the property ladder is particularly prevalent in the capital. While the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics found that average house prices in London had fallen by 1.5 per cent to £471,742, that figure is still more than 15 times the median salary of the capital’s workers. And with mortgage lenders offering a maximum of 5.5 times income, there’s a sizeable gap to make up.

Furthermore, the UK’s so-called ninth-biggest lender, the Bank of Mum and Dad, isn’t available to everyone.

It won’t be long before we know who will be steering the ship for the next few years but, whoever it is, here’s hoping we see some swift action on the housing front that will make a real difference to the market.

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