A (housing plan) for all seasons

We’re into the final few hours before the election and can start to look forward to what the result will bring. All of the parties have realised that housing is a key topic to the electorate and all have made bold promises to address the chronic problems we have with supply, delivery and affordability. What remains to be seen is who will win and how manifesto promises will be turned into deliverable policies.

Many challenges face the living sector and, with the level of complexity and number of stakeholders involved, turning manifesto pledges into bricks and mortar will be difficult to achieve. Land supply is an issue combining planning pressure (including resourcing issues in local planning authorities to process applications, NIMBYism and pressure on green space, and issues with delivery of infrastructure for strategic developments) and landowner price expectation (with promoter competition for deliverable sites driving price inflation and then squeezing developer sales margins). 

Developers have their own challenges - the increased time, effort and cost required to secure planning consents, plus material, skills and workforce shortages, all combine to delay delivery and erode working capital headroom. And don’t forget end users, both private buyers and the ‘institutional occupiers’ including PRS operators and Registered Providers - increasingly in what has been a buyers’ market they have sought more for less, and increasingly the professional buyers are bringing forward procuring their own developments through direct procurement. Institutional money, UK and overseas, is increasingly looking to housing as an attractive and inherently stable asset class, as commercial property is losing some attractiveness as retail repositions its offering and the high street reinvents itself.

All in all, the ‘living’ space is becoming increasingly busy and complex. Investors, developers, landowners and end users are all jostling for headroom and margin. Traditional ‘housing’ policy may now not be well enough suited to the modern marketplace but there’s no denying that more - and more affordable - housing is needed and needed quickly.

Whoever wins this election has a day one challenge to implement a housing policy that is deliverable and fit for purpose, because current approaches have not been able to keep up with demand. Now more than ever we need politics to deliver us a (housing) plan for all seasons.


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



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