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Government’s ‘laughable’ planning reforms overshadow ‘real-time property market’

A senior estate agent has described the Government’s pledge to compel councils to cut red tape in favour of development as laughable.

Simon Gerrard, managing direct of Martyn Gerrard Estate Agents, hit out at ‘Government soundbites’ that he said were overshadowing the situation in the property market.

It comes as the latest Rightmove House Price Index showed the number of sales agreed in the first six weeks of the year is 16% higher than in the same period last year.

Simon Gerrard, managing director of Martyn Gerrard Estate Agent, said:  “We’re certainly seeing a recovery of the housing market so far in 2024, and the (Rightmove) figures reflect the increased levels of registered interest in buying or selling homes that we’ve received. 

“Calmer economic conditions and falling mortgage rates from several major lenders have made a considerable difference in people’s ability to purchase property. The recent figures showing that the UK economy is officially in a recession may worry some, but the Bank of England has held the base interest rate and hopefully, provided inflation remains under control, we will see the base rate dropped some time this year. When we do, growth will be the new normal and activity in the housing market is only set to increase.”

But he cautioned that the “real-time situation” in the property market has been overshadowed by the Government announcement that it would be relaxing planning rules and attempting to boost development in urban areas.

Gerrard added: “We’ve heard this from the government before, and time and time again these policies have fallen into the void of meaningless soundbites that have no real action to back them up. 

“The Government’s pledge to force local councils to cut red tape and favour development is laughable. It has failed for over a decade to bring local councils and planning inspectorates in line, leading to a market that is presided over by these NIMBY councils whose primary aim is to block any increase in housing stock at every opportunity, propped up by a government that is too weak to take action. The churn of ministers in charge of the housing brief has only shown that the government doesn’t care about building homes, and it clearly has no understanding of how to actually encourage development.”

  • Proper Estate Agent

    As anyone can tell you, it's not just policy, in many councils its the opinion / personal interpretation of policy by the extreme left wing planning officers, biodiversity obsessed grad bat geeks, nitrate obsessed grad geeks and closet megalomaniacs. By the time you've spent 10k+ on reports by their uni mates, many don't bother.


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