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With the general election approaching, the Conservative Party has been aiming to win fresh support from voters. One area they have touched on is the housing crisis, with the Prime Minister insisting the Conservative Party will build a million homes before the next election.

The UK is obsessed with home ownership, and Rishi Sunak knows it. On the 24th of July, the house secretary, Michael Gove, unveiled new plans to try to help thousands of people onto the property ladder. The Secretary introduced new house-building measures, with the aim to boost the supply of new homes, thus helping more people out of rented accommodation and into property ownership. 

These plans include the creation of several new investment zones, which will see the development of new properties in urban areas. The first of those investment zones would see Cambridge being majorly expanded.

Gove also mentioned relaxing planning rules, in an effort to make it easier to convert empty retail premises into flats and homes. 

Whilst there has been backlash from the Conservative’s own MPs, mostly in rural areas, the prime minister has insisted that the government will not be ‘concreting over the countryside’. Instead, efforts will be focussed on the country’s big cities, where there is more demand. When speaking to Radio 4, Gove said building denser cities would help create more ‘walkable, liveable’ communities that cut commuting time and help the economy flourish. 

What Do Estate Agents Think?

Estate agents are hopeful that Gove’s easing of planning permission regulations will improve possibilities for property developers. Planning departments have been underfunded over the last decade, and staff shortages have led to delays. One report found less than 20% of submitted planning applications were being processed in the agreed time frame. Some estate agents report simple planning permission applications taking over a year to be processed, which is creating a huge housing shortage. 

Our estate agents are keen to see the government ease pressure on the rental sector, but in order to do this more homes need to be built. Targets and promises need to translate into brick and mortar, instead of all talk and no action.

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