Housing poised to take greater prominence as youth vote makes impact


The younger generation's housing needs will move up politicians' priority lists following the General Election outcome, it has been suggested.

With young people thought to have played a key part in the vote, which led to a hung parliament, politicians will now have to consider the needs of the young more than may have been the case in the past, according to an estate agent.

Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), said: "The hopelessness we are seeing on the ground about not being able to get on the housing ladder has come through. If there is one message that has come out of this election, it is that the young have voted overwhelmingly for change.

"Politicians will have to consider the needs of the young more than they have in the past which could mean more help for first-time buyers, perhaps extending Help to Buy so that it covers older properties as well as new-build, dealing with affordability issues and more help on stamp duty.

"One thing all the parties agree on is that we need more housing so it has to be a priority."

Younger people have faced an uphill struggle to get on the housing ladder in recent years, with property prices rising faster than some have been able to save for a deposit, although a range of government schemes have given many would-be buyers a helping hand onto the property ladder.

Rics said this week that in an "ominous signal" for aspiring first-time buyers, surveyors anticipate house price inflation will continue to out-pace wage growth. Surveyors expect property prices to rise by around 3.5% per year over the next five years.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), warned that the construction sector may be left vulnerable by the election result.

He said: "The construction sector is particularly vulnerable to dips in consumer confidence brought about by political uncertainty and therefore it's crucial that this uncertainty is minimised."

But he said in the longer term the outcome could be positive for the sector.

Mr Berry continued: "Brexit is inevitable but the election result will surely have a significant impact on the shape of the Brexit deal we end up with.

"This could be a positive for business leaders who are concerned about a broad range of issues - for the construction sector, our greatest concern is that the flow of migrant workers might be reduced too quickly and before we are able to put in place a framework for training sufficient UK workers to replace them."

Lauren Kemp, a senior manager at property investment consultancy London Central Portfolio, said falls in sterling may encourage more investors to take advantage of discounted prices in the property market.

She continued: "Nevertheless, it is anticipated that transactions will continue to fall in prime central London whilst investors assimilate the new situation, particularly at the luxury end and in the new build sector, already battered through the introduction of new residential taxes."