Something we all know, and the industry has been banging the drum about for many years, is that there is a profound need for increased housing supply, particularly in the more populated areas of the UK.
As Imla pointed out last week, there has been a lack of focus or clear strategy to tackle the housing shortage, largely due to the fact that the incumbent of the government post responsible for this sector has changed six times in six years.
The majority of Imla members believe there is a direct correlation between these two factors.
While those already on the housing ladder are benefiting from some of the lowest mortgage rates on record – as the Council of Mortgage Lenders reported last week – undersupply of housing continues to be one of the biggest problems for first-time buyers, with house prices remaining unaffordable for the younger generation because of the relative lack of new-build homes.
On that note, the industry has largely welcomed the Redfern Review that was published last week, which suggests that an independent housing commission be established to deal specifically with the supply problem, and to set out targets and measures to meet them.
However, while research carried out as part of the review found that 80 per cent of adults would prefer to own their own home, an increasing number of individuals and families have no option but to rent on a long-term basis, as has long been the practice of choice in many parts of mainland Europe.
For these long-term renters who struggle to save for a deposit, a rent-to-buy scheme could be the solution, such as the ‘buy as you go’ programme being proposed by the National Housing Federation. It suggests the option to put a share of rental payments towards owning the home one lives in and, after a set period (up to 30 years), one would become the owner of the property.
How affordable the scheme would be remains to be seen, however.
There are murmurs that the Government will make an announcement about this sort of scheme in the Autumn Statement this week, so it’s certainly one to watch out for on Thursday.