Issues relating to housing are one of the hottest topics of this election campaign, with all the main political parties offering up potential policies aimed at fixing a sector of the economy widely seen as under strain.
The high costs of renting and home ownership have been a key concern for the public and the main parties have attempted to address these concerns in their manifestos.
The Conservatives bill themselves as the party of home ownership and have pledged to help first-time buyers get onto the housing ladder.
If elected, the Conservatives will aim to:
- extend the ‘Right to Buy’ scheme that allows council tenants to buy council houses for a discount
- build 200,000 new homes at 20% below market price for first-time buyers under 40 years-old
- continue to the Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme until 2020.
Labour has highlighted concerns about prices in the private rented sector and says it will tackle the supply and demand problems in the housing market.
Labour’s key policies with regards to housing are:
- a 3-year stamp duty holiday for first-time buyers on properties worth up to £300,000
- build at least 200,000 homes a year by 2020
- use savings from Help to Buy ISAs to create a Future Homes Fund that will invest in housing.
The Liberal Democrats have promised to build new homes and provide assistance to renters trying to access their first property.
The Lib Dems want to:
- build up to 300,000 homes each year by 2020
- new ‘Rent to Own’ homes where rent payments gradually allow tenants to own a stake in the property
- introduce ‘Help to Rent’ deposit loans.
UKIP has emphasised the importance of building homes on brownfield land and making use of the 279,000 long-term empty properties in the UK.
The main housing pledges that UKIP has made are:
- incentivising companies to build up to 2.5 million homes on brownfield sites
- committing to bring empty properties back into use
- extending the Right to Buy and Help to Buy schemes.
The Greens focus on the affordability and sustainability of the current housing market. They are in favour of regulating the Buy-to-Let sector and building more social housing.
The Green’s policies on housing are:
- build up to 500,000 social rented homes
- stop the sell-off of council homes under the Right to Buy scheme
- phase out Stamp Duty Land Tax and replace with a Land Value Tax.