Govt housing schemes will still lead to 310,000 fewer homes by 2015

Even if all of the Government’s current housing schemes succeed by the end of 2015 the UK will still have 310,000 fewer homes than it needs, claims the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in a report to the government today.

Last week, the Government announced a raft of housing and planning measures in an effort to kick-start the economy. And the Home Builders Federation revealed on Monday that the Government’s NewBuy scheme is gaining momentum as it hit 1,300 reservations since its launch six months ago.

But the JRF says that a whopping 750,000 homes are required by 2015.

Along with a massive increase in house building the charity is also calling for a pooled mortgage insurance fund and wants a revaluation of council tax bands to act as a brake on house price inflation.

It says a revaluation of council tax bands would act as a brake on inflation and make the system fairer and that currently 3.7 million households are worse off as a result of the failure to revalue council tax because households would have moved down bands.

It’s also called for an insurance partnership scheme where borrowers, lenders and the Government each make a contribution to a pooled fund that can cover struggling homeowners’ mortgage costs to prevent repossessions.

JRF’s programme manager Kathleen Kelly says: “As MPs gather for their party conferences and the new housing minister settles in, now is the time to fix the underlying problems in the housing market. It will take huge political courage to achieve this – but we cannot afford to leave people or our economy helplessly exposed to our volatile housing system.”

It wants a focus on developing serious alternatives to home ownership by increasing the availability of social rented homes and intermediate tenures such as shared ownership, as well as reforming the private rented sector to give renters more security.

It says the insecurity of private renting is particularly damaging for families trying to make a long term home in the sector.