LONDON’S NEW MAYOR – A REAL SOLUTION TO THE HOUSING CRISIS?
This month a change will be made that will bring an end to the era of Ken and Boris, as London makes a decision on who will be the capital’s next mayor.
The frontrunners, the Conservatives’ Zac Goldsmith and Labour’s Sadiq Khan, both have strong views on ways to tackle the city’s appalling housing crisis and both have pledged to increase the housing supply to 50,000 units per year. But will the drastic plans of either candidate truly help solve the problem or could they make matters worse?
As the population of London soared past its peak of 8.6 million last year and with predictions of a population which will exceed 11 million by 2040, Sadiq Khan has stated that housing will be his single biggest priority. But he plans to tackle the issue by making half of all new builds into affordable housing, which can only mean higher prices for the other 50% of new homes as building firms struggle to recover the cost. This could leave people stuck in their homes and unable to move up the housing ladder because of affordability issues and in turn, cause a negative effect on the housing market.
Also, Mr Khan’s plans to stop investors buying off plan and to have a planning condition that they are marketed to Londoners first, are also flawed, as developers generally need to sell around a third of their units off plan in order to finance developments. Taking away a large portion of this market can only slow down projects, affect funding and cut supply.
As an alternative solution to the housing crisis Zac Goldsmith has rejected the 50% target, saying that developers will be forced to build luxury high rise accommodation to cover the added cost. He prefers a league table which would effectively name and shame any developers which have achieved poor results with regard to affordable housing. But this has issues all of its own.
Another plan from Mr Goldsmith is to only allow people who have lived or worked in London for more than three years to buy homes on mayoral land. This again could affect the ability to sell off-plan, and, in a similar way to Mr Khan’s proposals, affect funding and cut supply.
In response to the plans of the mayoral candidates, major house builders Linden Homes published a manifesto of their own which pointed out that more focus needed to be placed on the factors that would allow builders a real chance to build more homes.
The six stage plan looks at a wider, more practical picture when it comes to the housing problem and addresses additional issues such as new jobs, impact on the environment, working with the community and delivering on infrastructure.
Patrick Murtagh, managing director of Rytons Associates, agreed with and highly commended the Linden Homes proposals. He said: “Both of the mayoral candidates’ policies are equally flawed in the sense that, regardless of releasing land and making planning easier, there is still a huge skills shortage in the industry, particularly with bricklayers and carpenters. And simply put, if you do not have enough skilled people you cannot build!
“We need a very real solution to the housing crisis in London. One which will have the necessary impact and continue to do so for years to come. I have my concerns that neither mayoral candidate has properly taken into account the implications of what they are proposing and I am glad to see that a useful alternative has been suggested by those in the know.”
If you would like to find out more about recruitment within the construction industry and the many vital roles available, you can get in touch with the team at Rytons today.