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Goverment's Reforms Split Expert Opinion

04/05/2017

The government's recent white paper somewhat discouragingly titled 'Fixing Our Broken Housing Market' has continued to split the opinions of industry experts and those who run and operate the estate agencies responsible for the majority of sales in the country.

The government has been making plenty of positive noises regarding the construction of affordable new housing, which is welcome news as new and affordable housing is desperately needed to boost flagging first time buyer sales (despite overall sales actually hitting a ten year high in February). First time buyers fuel the housing market and help people move up to the second rung of the property ladder, thus creating a ripple of movement upward. It's crucial something is done to support this important process, but not all experts have faith in the government to do it.

Opinions Split Amongst Estate Agents

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) recently conducted a study of its estate agent members to gauge their opinion of the government's recent white paper detailing its plan to reform the housing market and increase the supply of new homes.

The NAEA's results revealed that while 39% of its members thought the reforms definitely will help provide a boost for the UK housing market, a slightly larger 43% thought the reforms would not make much difference at all. Part of that negative opinion is likely related to the precedent set by the government for breaking their previous housing promises.

Property Promises Must be Kept

Mark Hayward is the Chief Executive of the NAEA, and he aired concerns that the government's promises to create more homes will not be kept. Mr Hayward said, "The number of sales agreed reaching a ten year high indicates the housing market is moving in the right direction. However, first time buyers need to be a priority as the number of sales made to the group dipped in February when it should be growing. As house prices continue to rise, the market's most vulnerable buyers are being priced out and the only way to address this is to increase housing stock. The government have pledged yet again to build more homes, but our members aren't feeling optimistic about the plans."

However, if the government do keep their promise to create lots of new affordable homes, then Mr Hayward's outlook becomes a lot sunnier. He added, "If promises are kept and we see construction sites set up across the UK, we'll be in a better position in a few years than the stark reality we will be facing if this doesn't happen."

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