The Council of Mortgage Lenders has published a manifesto aimed at the political parties in advance of the next General Election.
Entitled A housing market to be proud of, the manifesto points to the decisions and actions that mortgage lenders believe politicians should take to deliver effective housing solutions for the future.
The CML looks at home-ownership, private renting, and social renting through the eyes of "the young, the old, and the in-betweeners", and concludes that strategic public policy is needed to address the needs of all these groups.
For the young, the main issue is the sheer cost of housing. For this group, the CML wants the government to:
Focus on measures that increase the supply of housing in all tenures, enabling more young people to gain a housing foothold;
Reform stamp duty to reduce its burdens, distorting effects, and unintended consequences; and
Recognise that, for many, shared equity/shared ownership is becoming a permanent tenure, rather than a stepping stone to full ownership.
For the old, the main issue is how to balance the competing considerations of income, the potential to release housing wealth, and care/housing need. For this group, the CML wants the government to:
Address the regulatory stumbling blocks that relate to lending into retirement;
Promote better pathways between the mainstream mortgage market, lifetime mortgages, and downsizing;
Create opportunities for older households to downsize, promoting more efficient use of the housing stock; and
Ensure new housing supply fully reflects the needs and aspirations of an ageing population.
As for the in-betweeners, this group is finding it increasingly difficult to achieve home-ownership and financial security, or to move up the ladder if they do achieve it. For the in-betweeners, the CML wants the government to:
Reduce affordability barriers to transacting by reforming the application of stamp duty;
Watch for any unintended consequences of regulation on credit-worthy mortgage holders;
Work with industry to develop a more effective safety net against the risk of change in household circumstances; and
Ensure that policies affecting all tenures (such as welfare reform) are holistic and align with private sector markets.
As a parting shot, the CML says that the government should recognise that while "the UK housing market" is really a whole set of local markets, most finance is provided by national lenders who need standard operating frameworks.
It also urges the next government to ensure that neither localism nor European regulation hinder rather than help the effective delivery of housing and housing finance. And it exhorts politicians to ensure that the practicalities of regulation are in line with government policy, and support the long-term health of the economy.
Paul Smee, CML director general, said: "There are many things that the mortgage industry can and will do to promote a healthy housing market. But it is also crucial to have strategic public policy for housing that is clear, deliverable, and long-term. We hope our thoughts will help to stimulate political thinking about practical ways to deliver the right types of housing, supported by the necessary finance, in the right locations - this is the only sustainable and permanent solution to housing affordability."