November 20th, 2017

Assetz Capital investors call for a housebuilding budget

We canvassed the views on budget priorities of our investors in the first Assetz Capital Investor Barometer ahead of the budget on Wednesday 22nd November 2017.

31% of investors said they most wanted to see government support and legislation to enable local authorities to push through the building of more affordable housing. 24% said income tax reductions for lower earners was the most important, while 10% said they wanted to see stamp duty reduced for first-time buyers as a priority.

Our CEO, Stuart Law, said: “This is a clear indication from our investors that housebuilding should be the government’s number one priority in this budget. There is growing pressure from the Conservative party members, led in many ways by Sajid Javid, to implement new policies that could radically improve housing supply, but whether these ideas get through Phillip Hammond into the budget is anyone’s guess at present, although the weekend’s press suggests he is finally considering listening.”

72% of investors also said that they would strongly support local authorities to carrying out compulsory purchase orders (CPO) for land directly next to towns and villages, as already controlled under the 1961 Land Compensation Act, and being funded to do so. Only 0.6% of these respondents caveated their support by saying they wouldn’t want any development in their immediate local area – suggesting that we may be seeing the ‘death of the nimby’. A quarter of those that support the initiative stressed that it must not be at the expense of green belt land.

Stuart continued: “The housing crisis in the country has become so acute that we may be seeing the death of the nimby as the need for new housing overtakes the typical opposition that’s faced. The number of investors that want to see local authorities empowered the get on and build is a clear indication that radical solutions are needed. At present the 1961 Landowner Compensation Act dictates a price that the CPO is carried out at the full market value following planning permission, but this is perhaps hampering council house viability. A change to this act would be welcomed by the majority of our respondents, and a reduction in CPO land prices paid would assist more affordable rents and house building in our view.”

“This is a real opportunity to deliver some progressive housing policies involving local authorities that would give the government a much-needed boost at a time when Brexit is threatening to tear the Conservatives apart. We – and our investors – urge the government to bring something new to the table on housebuilding in this budget.