The Year of the Homeowner

6 January 2016, Blog

Or so it would seem the Government hopes. This time of year is when journalists sit back down at their desks after the holidays and look for the next big story, the trends of 2016. January isn’t yet in double figures and Number 10 has already made several big housing announcements.

Firstly, the Government will directly commission and fast track new homes on public land, described in their own press release as not being seen ”on this scale since Thatcher and Heseltine started the Docklands regeneration”. The majority will be sold at market value, but up to 40% of them will be sold as starter. It is also intended smaller builders will benefit from direct commissioning, as it will provide a way for companies with fewer resources and without access to land to get to work.

Secondly, among announcements of a few new pots of money, there will be a £1.2bn starter home fund to prepare brownfield land. It is expected the fund will fast-track 30,000 market rate and 30,000 starter homes on 500 sites by 2020.

Finally, David Cameron and Zac Goldsmith co-authored a piece in the Evening Standard on Monday, where Cameron announced he has amended the Housing Bill to ensure that for every council house sold at least two affordable homes are built. Indeed, Dave calls it “Zac’s amendment”.  The bill was voted through after a six hour debate that lasted until the early hours of Tuesday morning.

With one eye on the upcoming Mayoral contest, the Conservatives are setting up their credentials as the party of builders so Londoners will know to put their mark against Goldsmith’s name. It’s no secret that housing in the capital will be one of the top issues in the campaign, maybe even the biggest.

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