LSH: More help needed for housing market

Simon Donohue

The Government isn't doing enough to support the delivery of new housing, according to a survey by Lambert Smith Hampton's residential development team.

More than half of the people within the North West housing sector surveyed, 61%, said more help was needed.

The LSH Residential Development Survey 2013 focused on identifying measures that could be implemented to increase housing supply in the North West, and sought the views of the region's leading house builders, investors, developers, landowners, professional services and public sector bodies.

More than half of those surveyed 56% identified development finance as the biggest factor affecting the delivery of housing, followed by 36% who believed that planning policy was the key issue.

These results show that the difficulties faced by the residential sector are deep-seated and require a fundamental step change in the UK's approach to housing delivery. Of those surveyed, 47% felt that while the government's direct housing market intervention measures, including Help to Buy and Get Britain Building, have had a positive impact they can only be a short term economic fix.

Dan Bolton, associate director and residential specialist at LSH Manchester, said: "This survey has brought into sharp relief the scepticism that the sector has about the government's ability to provide a long term solution to the delivery of housing to support our growing population.

"While there are many factors in play, most views point towards a need for stronger guidance from the centre, and investment focused on creating a change at the heart of the system."

LSH suggests the Private Rented Sector is showing traction in London, the South East and the large regional centres, such as Manchester and Birmingham.

Despite this, however, only 5% of respondents believe it is capable of accommodating the anticipated growth of the housing market, without encouraging greater investor focus in the regions and weaker residential markets.

The Localism Bill was cited as another factor for stalled projects, with 29% agreeing that viable developments were being held back by objections lodged by local residents.

Bolton added: "The reality is that this is a crisis that has been building for well over 20 years and there is no single answer to solving it. Now is the time for a coherent strategy and review of our system, something that extends past party political boundaries and above short term populist policies."

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