Sajid Javid

The UK government has admitted that the housing market is “broken”, ahead of a White Paper that will outline a solution.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid described a state of affairs where young people are faced with a “false choice” of whether to buy or rent in an incredibly expensive market. A new housing White Paper which will outline the government's plan to tackle the situation is set to be read out to MPs.

"Walk down your local high street today and there's one sight you're almost certain to see. Young people, faces pressed against the estate agent's window, trying and failing to find a home they can afford,” Javid will say.

"With prices continuing to skyrocket, if we don't act now, a whole generation could be left behind. We need to do better, and that means tackling the failures at every point in the system.

He even admitted that local councils had "fudged the numbers" when addressing their local housing requirements.

"The housing market in this country is broken and the solution means building many more houses in the places that people want to live."

London House

Indeed, the government specified that around 250,000 new homes will be needed every year to meet the demands of the property market. The solutions laid out by the White Paper are expected to include:

  • Greater protection for green belts
  • Cutting the time allowed between acquiring planning permission and starting work from three years to two
  • Helping young buyers to save for a deposit with a “lifetime ISA”
  • Force local councils to produce updated plans to meet their housing requirements
  • Make developers avoid building “low density” housing in areas where land is scarce and pressuring them to build rather than leave land empty
  • Introduction of a £3bn fund to empower smaller developers to tackle larger rivals

This is a fair departure from the policies of ex-Prime Minister David Cameron, who focused on building “starter homes” that could be sold to first time buyers at a discount. 

Instead, Mr Javid says the government will focus on building “a wider range of affordable housing.”

"The measures announced so far in Theresa May's long-promised housing White Paper are feeble beyond belief,” said shadow housing minister for Labour John Healey.

"After seven years of failure and 1,000 housing announcements, the housing crisis is getting worse not better."