Rics: Government failing on housing

house building

The government is still failing to address the issue of housing supply, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics).

In its latest survey, Rics said the number of homes for sale had sunk to a record low.

As a result, demand was outstripping supply, it said, and prices were likely to see further “sizeable gains”.

But the government insisted that more homes were being built, particularly on brownfield sites.

Demand from buyers is rising at its quickest rate for 18 months, according to Rics.

At the same time, the average number of properties for sale per surveyor sank to 47 in July, the lowest figure on record.

Jeremy Blackburn, the head of policy at Rics, accused the government of stimulating demand in its housing initiatives, but failing to “address the real issue of supply”.

“A coherent and coordinated house building strategy is required across all tenures,” he said.

Last month the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) made a similar plea to the government.

‘Brownfield sites’

As part of its policy on housing, the government has extended the Right to Buy scheme to those in housing association properties, and launched the Starter Homes Initiative, which will allow young first-time buyers to purchase properties at a minimum discount of 20%.

It has also extended the equity loan part of the Help to Buy scheme until 2020.

In response to Rics, the government said it had delivered more than 260,000 low-cost homes in the last five years.

“This is real progress but we know there is more to do,” said Brandon Lewis, the housing minister.

“That’s why we are committed to deliver 275,000 extra affordable homes over this parliament – the fastest rate of build for 20 years.”

The government is focusing particularly on brownfield sites – sites which have previously been built on.

It said that homes would be in place on 90% of suitable brownfield sites by 2020, and that a new £1bn fund would be created to open up further building opportunities.

In a separate survey, a chain of estate agents has reported that last month was the strongest July for home sales for eight years.

As many as 90,000 properties were sold in England and Wales – the largest number of homes sold in July since 2007, according to the LSL house price index.

It said the rate of house price growth in London had slowed to 1.8% a year, whereas price inflation outside London and the South East was now 4%.

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