With the results of the UK General Election appointing Keir Starmer as our new Prime Minister, leaving Labour victorious over the Conservative party, we take a look at our clients’ reactions and what they are urging the new Government to prioritise for the property industry.

General Election: A recap of Labour’s housing pledges:

  • Committed to building over 1.5 million homes over the next parliament 
  • Reinstate mandatory housing targets for local authorities  
  • More devolution to combined authorities and steps to improve building safety 
  • A brownfield first approach, backed by a strategic approach to greenbelt designation, and prioritising the release of low quality grey belt land 
  • A new generation of New Towns 

Client reactions

Craig Carson, Managing Director of Barratt West London, comments: “For the first time in nearly a decade, there will be a Labour government working together with the Mayor of London and with a commitment to build 1.5m homes across the next parliament, overhaul the planning system and, perhaps crucially for Londoners, to take a brownfield-first approach when it comes to development. The prioritisation of brownfield and the new greybelt land will help unlock large swathes of land for development, including former car parks and commercial units. This will be particularly beneficial in the outer boroughs of London such as Barnet, Harrow, Ealing, Newham and Brent, alongside more central locations such as Southwark, ensuring developers can accelerate build programmes and deliver much-needed high quality, sustainable homes for Londoners. It is vital that the new government works with the Mayor to create a pro-development environment and offer support to first time buyers and young families to be able to get a foot on the ladder in the capital.”

Lynda Clark, Editor of First Time Buyer Magazine, comments: “Housing has become a major focus in this election’s debate, more so than in recent years. Indicative polls over the last few weeks showed that first time buyers are optimistic about the changes that a Labour Government will bring to a tough housing market. They are right to hope for better – house prices are high, yanking up deposits behind them, while mortgage rates linger at around 5%, making it hard to borrow. Labour’s plans to address the housing crisis through an accelerated housebuilding programme will lead to better housing options for buyers, and first time buyers will be supported by the extended mortgage guarantee scheme. Existing initiatives including shared ownership, Rent to Buy and London Living Rent remain available, and with greater backing from a new Government these will continue to help thousands of first time buyers each year escape the rental trap and get on the property ladder.”

Wayne Douglas, Managing Director at City & Country: “The Labour Government now must start delivering on its promises and take responsibility for building homes. This country in the past has suffered from nimbyism when it’s proven that new development creates sustainable places and supports communities, whether that’s through job creation, improved connectivity, community investment to support economic growth whilst reenergising existing and new towns and cities.

What is immediately obvious is the urgent need for an evolution in the way planning is dealt with and it needs to happen quickly. The proposed housing plans to require councils to build on the ‘grey belt’ and utilise brownfield sites is a step in the right direction to unlocking housing delivery and hitting those housing targets this country so desperately needs. Now, Keir Starmer needs to turn Labour’s promises into policies and give the UK timescales on when this will be implemented not ‘if’.

Trevor Wilkins, Managing Director at PAH Building & Construction, comments: “Labour’s manifesto promises to overhaul the apprenticeship levy must now be met with action. In order to show support for SMEs in the construction sector, the new Government should provide easier access to apprenticeship funds and provide incentives to recruit and retain talent in the industry to close the critical skills gap.

“Labour must now work closely with the industry to produce its “growth and skills levy” with a fresh approach to get our economy growing and to support the invaluable trade skills needed to meet new housebuilding targets and retrofit our existing stock.”

Edward Heaton, founder of buying agency Heaton and Partners comments: “The sheer scale of the Labour majority will hopefully give some stability to the property market for the next few years. It remains to be seen how the new government may or may not tinker, particularly with taxes, but for the most part we expect more of the same. It will also be interesting to see how Labour’s plans for mass new housebuilding will be executed. I very much hope it will be a success.”

Kate Faulkner OBE, property expert, comments: “A better housing market for us all requires the Party in power to take time to understand how to deliver housing for all – just tackling one problem in one sector at a time will fail. For me, there are four things a new Government needs to commit to if it really wants to make a difference:- 

“We need a commitment that those who work in housing, from ministers to civil servants, will remain in their posts for a minimum of five years. Chopping and changing those ‘in charge’ is a key reason why the housing crisis has not been addressed as much as it could have been.

“New housing teams would really benefit from reading the Nationwide Foundation ‘Homes for All’ paper. The recommendations outlined in this document offer a long-term solution to tackle housing problems, which can only be achieved by enlisting cross-party and industry support.

“For an easy win within the first 100 days, the Government could support the implementation of the key recommendations of the Home Buying and Selling Council, of which I am the chair. We offer a cross section of easy fix solutions which would immediately improve buying and selling a home, while others will revolutionise the process for everyone over the next five years.

“Finally, I would like to see MPs, of all parties, tasked with submitting a plan on how they will work with their local public and private housing and land providers. Critical is how to house those in temporary accommodation within their constituencies and how we can deliver more social homes to reduce local housing waiting lists by releasing land and funding. This alone will unlock over one million homes back into the private sector, helping first time buyers onto the property ladder and alleviating supply issues for those renting privately.”

If you want to help shape the housing debate post General Election, the team at Building Relations are here and ready to help.Contact the team and make your voice heard.