Housing reforms are start of an era of radical change

Mazars believes the Government’s planned housing reforms are just the start of radical change for the sector.

Partner Lee Cartwright, who is Mazars’ UK head of housing, predicts that this is only the start beginning of a fundamental re-think for the future delivery of housing.

Lee Cartwright comments: “The recent White Paper was rightly focussed on increasing supply, with a marked move away from starter homes being the main priority and a more balanced approach to supporting construction of a range of tenure types including affordable, rent and low cost home ownership.

“We welcome the government’s renewed focus on housing supply, but believe more radical changes will be required in the future to heal the ‘broken’ housing market.”

But, he suggested, the proposals would only be the start, with “major structural shifts on the horizon for the UK housing sector taking shape over the next decade”.

He said: “Major investors, including pensions funds and investment funds, as well as local authorities with capital funds to invest, are taking a keen interest in the social housing sector.

“We are seeing a new wave of entrants, such as profit-making registered providers of social housing, and local authority property companies building for private rent or sale, opening up additional funding stream for construction of new housing, both affordable and market-driven rent and sale products.

“We are also seeing the Government promising a relaxation of certain regulatory powers, aimed at reversing the recent Office for National Statistics’ decision to classify housing associations as public bodies.”

He added: “Looking into the future, we might see housing associations being free to set their own definitions of ‘affordability’ and free to set their own rent levels, therefore increasing their capacity to build new homes.

“But, whatever the future holds, I think it’s safe to assume that the definitions of social housing and private housing, and the respective roles of the social housing sector and private sector, are all going to change fundamentally over the next decade.”

We have been holding a series of briefing seminars for our housing clients across the country discussing the risks and opportunities for the sector together with alternative delivery models. The Government’s new housing strategy for England includes giving councils powers to pressurise developers to start building on land they own, making renting more "family-friendly" with longer tenancies offered, plus a “clear expectation” that at least ten per cent of developments will be “affordable home ownership units”.

The Government says at least 250,000 new homes are needed each year to keep pace with demand.

Posted by: Mazars LLP

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