There has been a mixed response from the agency world to David Cameron's pledge to reform planning, promise that 200,000 new homes are built per year, and move to allow developers to construct affordable homes for sale, not just for rent.
Mark Hayward, managing director, National Association of Estate Agents, says questions such as the definition of 'affordable' remain unanswered.
“We first heard this [200,000 new homes] pledge in Cameron’s pre-election campaign and we still support the sentiment. However ... we are still waiting to see new homes being built. Whilst we wait capacity remains stretched, infrastructure is not in place and house prices continue to grow" he says.
Lawrence Hall of Zoopla says that while the 200,000 new homes figure sounds impressive the UK needs this volume of new homes each year to address its supply shortage. “Turning generation rent into generation buy will be a long and difficult journey, but this announcement represents an encouraging first step” he says.
Cameron's proposals - outlined to the Conservative party conference in Manchester - say that section 106 deals between council planners and private developers will no longer concentrate solely on securing affordable rented homes in new schemes, but will instead include starter homes targetting first time buyers under 40.
The price of these starter homes will be capped at £250,000 and £450,000 in London. Buyers will be unable to sell them in the short term - although no details have yet been made available to show how this will be achieved.
Andrew Bridges of Stirling Ackroyd estate agency in London says capping at £450,000 in London clearly helps those at the bottom of the property ladder but he warns this is not a realistic figure for everyone in the capital.
“Our own figures show the average one bed flat in the London area is now worth £437,000 – which may well reach the new limit by the time this plan comes into action. Already, 38 per cent of postal districts around Greater London have average prices for a one bed flat above £450,000" he says.