New Prime Minister urged to relax planning laws and to address archaic rules on stamp duty

THE UK’s leading property group has urged the new Prime Minister to address Britain’s housing crisis calling for “radical change”.

The National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB) says there is now growing fears of a rapid slowdown in  a market which is “teetering on the brink”.

And the NAPB added that many in the industry feel dismayed at the fact we are likely to now see the 21st different Housing Minister unveiled since 1997.

Spokesman Jonathan Rolande said the sector required stability in its leadership and needed widespread reform to help the soaring numbers of people unable to buy or rent a property.

Mr Rolande said: “We must see the supply of property increase by empowering smaller builders with easier routes to get planning. Stamp Duty is archaic and needs a re-think which would increase fairness and free up off market property – give pensioners a zero band when they move downmarket for example.

“The Government should also look at increasing tax breaks for companies opening in areas where cheap housing is plentiful to take some strain off the south east. The new PM must be bold. The property market underpins everything we take for granted in this country and it needs help after years of imbalance, short-term ideas and mis-placed billions in subsidies. It needs radical change and that will take radical thinking. I hope our new Prime Minister has the vision to do this but time will tell.”

Mr Rolande said there was now a growing fear of a “rapid slowdown” in the market which is being fuelled by uncertainty and instability.

“Part of the problem here is we are facing the announcement of yet another new Housing Minister – our 21st since 1997,” he added.

“Will they push through the flawed idea to sell off our last remaining Housing Association stock and streamline the planning process to build more homes? Perhaps. Or might they be a little kinder to landlords in the private rental sector? Let’s hope so.

Many are keen to exit the market thanks to new regulation and the relatively poor financial return on buy to let.

“But let’s be frank. Unless inflation in general, and particularly that in the energy sector is addressed, the property market, currently teetering on the edge of a rapid slow down may well be pushed over the edge. Rising interest rates and thousands a year out of buyer’s pockets will make many hesitate. And that’s where things can turn very nasty, for years. If prices are perceived to be about to fall it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“Many may rejoice, thinking it will allow them to at last buy a home. But in reality, a poor property market actually limits choices as only those who have to, will sell and borrowing rules will become so harsh, mortgages will be impossible to get for many.

“So as the new tenant of No.10 moves in it must be energy inflation that is the first priority. Once that is stabilised, I hope that there will be no more subsidies that inflate prices – Help to Buy has, after all, helped huge house building firms to boost their profits with hard-earned tax payer money.”