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Manifestos: How will they impact on the Housing Market in England and Wales

View profile for Paul Hajek
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Now all the three main parties have released their manifestos we can look at possible changes and effects to the Housing Market in England and Wales.

Here is a summary of each parties’ main proposals:

Labour

• 110,000 new homes over the next two years either to rent or buy
• 10,000 Council Houses per year by the end of the next Parliament
• A further tightening by increasing restrictions on repossessions of homes
• FSA to be responsible for regulation of all mortgages; transferring second home loans often used by sub prime lenders into the more vigourous FSA regime
• All new homes to be carbon zero (does anybody really know what that actually means) by 2016
• Press ahead with construction of so called “eco towns” will be pressed

Conservatives

 A permanent exemption for first time buyers from Stamp Duty on homes up to the value of £250000.
 Abolish Home Information Packs (HIPS) because of “significant problems”
 Keep Energy Performance Certificates
 No one would be forced to sell their home for unsecured debt under £25000

Liberal Democrats

o A Mansion Tax on all properties worth over £2,000,000 payable at 1% (per annum?) on the value above the £2,000,000 threshold
o Stamp Duty Avoidance measures introduced to ensure Stamp Duty is not avoid by the use of Offshore Trusts
o Stop major housing developments in flood risk areas
o Close loopholes in development of playing fields without proper planning procedures
o Scrap “burdensome Home Information Packs (HIPS)”
o Turn Northern Rock back into a Building Society

Initial Thoughts:

Labour has concentrated least on the Housing Market.

This may fall under Gordon Brown’s pledge not to get in the way of the recovery from recession.

No new policies have been put forward, and one would have to take the pledges on house building with a pinch of salt.

Conservatives have “called” Alastair Darling’s Stamp Duty holiday for First Time Buyers and “raised” it by making it permanent. It is a shame that they did not go the whole hog and be more democratic by giving the exemption to all buyers under the £250,000

Conservatives have followed up with their pre election pledge to abolish HIPs. Their emphasis however may belie a lack of enthusiasm. The pledge to abolish HIPs did not even merit a sub paragraph let alone a full paragraph.

The press has not picked up on this part of the manifesto, and whether there will be much enthusiasm post election remains to be seen. 

Any new Government's priorities will lie elsewhere, and if HIPs were to be abolished, it might be towards the end of the next Parliament in 2014/15 

The Conservatives commitment to keeping the Energy Performance Certificates is somewhat strange as this is already embodied in European legislation. They have not said whether the requirement will 10 yearly which is the European requirement or every occasion when a property is sold which is the present legal position in England and Wales.

Liberal Democrats have the most pledges that might affect the Housing Market. They will be deeply unpopular with Developers by stopping major developments on flood risk areas.

Asset rich but cash poor owners of “Mansions” will have additional yearly tax to pay on their homes. A punitive tax as it is based on non income producing assets.

There is no mention on Stamp Duty. Who is to know whether turning the Northern Rock into a Building Society will be in the public interest given the amount of taxpayer bail out it has received.

The Lib Dems have also ganged up on HIPs and want to scrap them whilst again keeping (as they would have to anyway) the Energy Efficiency Certificate.

The Lib Dems opposition to HIPs is new as Vince Cable the Lib Dem’s Treasury spokesman is on record as saying that although HIPs were "badly timed and have added extra cost and friction [nevertheless] now they’re here, it’s not sensible to abandon them”.

There we have it: Hardly designed to set the pulses racing.

In essence not much between the parties to cement or differentiate and with the possible exception of HIPS, hardly any obvious vote catchers.

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