Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) has pledged that, as part of a suite of measures to rebuild the economy following the COVID-19 crisis, the government will aim to build thousands of new homes on Brownfield sites and others.
Johnson also flagged ‘radical’ upcoming planning reform at levels that he claimed have not been seen since the end of World War 2.
He also promised that the economic crisis would not be met with a return to austerity measures.
During the announcement, Johnson said: “We’re preparing now slowly, cautiously to come out of hibernation, and I believe it’s absolutely vital for us to set out the way ahead, so that everyone can think and plan for the future, short, medium and long-term.”
In reference to home building, specifically, he added: “There has been an intergenerational injustice and the government will now help to get the young on the housing ladder just as their parents did.
“Build, build, build. Build better. Build faster.”
Managing Director of estate agent Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester, commented:
“Today’s announcement by the Prime Minister is a rallying call to commerce, industry, the property sector and finance, to piggy-back his huge spending plans and literally put Britain back together again.
We seem set to spend our way to fiscal health and to ensure, in particular, that there is finally a genuine home-building revolution to match similar investment intentions in the transport, education and health sectors.
What a welcome relief this is and at just the right time.”
Marc von Grundherr, director of lettings and estate agent Benham and Reeves commented: “Like many areas of life, the severe lack of homes being built has understandably taken a back seat.
“However, it now stands as one of the pillars on which the government is forming its economic recovery plan.
“Hopefully, this added emphasis on such a burning issue will result in some action and this will be nothing but positive for the UK property market.
“Of course, there is always the danger that, like many before him, the Prime Minister’s words will equate to little more than just that.
“With the UK property market still facing a very uncertain landscape, we certainly hope this isn’t the case.”
Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former residential chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), said: “While, of course, the announcement of more building is very welcome we want to see more specifics, not just on desperately-needed affordable housing projects but a strict timetable for delivery, especially of sites with planning.
“So many of the larger schemes in particular are mired in planning or lending red tape so certainly the concentration on infrastructure will help to release many from that log jam by improving connectivity.”
Mark Hayward, chief executive at NAEA Propertymark, said: “Propertymark welcomes the Prime Minister’s ambition to bounce back as we enter the new phase of this pandemic.
“It is important that as we try to reboot the economy we build a greater supply of affordable houses that can rejuvenate urban areas most affected by this crisis.
“Simplification of the planning process will ease the pressures caused on the supply of homes and ensure the property market drives the UK’s economic recovery.
“We look forward to working with government during its White Paper process later this month to ensure the system has less red tape and is easier to navigate.”