Labour’s long-awaited Redfern Review, set up a year ago after the party’s defeat in the general election, finally reports tomorrow.
Although it is a party-commissioned report, the review has been undertaken by a non-partisan group of highly-regarded independent experts such as Dame Kate Barker from Credit Suisse, Terrie Alafat the chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, and Ian Mulheirn of Oxford Economics taking part.
The process has been chaired by the chief executive of Taylor Wimpey, Peter Redfern.
Some details have been released of its findings on the lettings side but the whole review is wide ranging and is expected to report in five areas.
Firstly it is to consider the specific constraints involved in house purchase, and how these can be removed or amended to make home ownership both easier and more appealing than currently, especially for first time buyers.
It is to report on savings habits of young would-be buyers, the appropriateness of mortgage products for first time buyers, and how modern employment practices fit in with mortgage lenders‘ criteria for agreeing loans.
Secondly the review is to consider how easy or desireable it is to ‘transition’ from one tenure to another, and how this changes at different stages of an owner’s or renter’s life.
This is likely to report on the staircasing arrangements found, currently, in shared ownership schemes.
Thirdly, the Redfern Review will consider homeownership in later life and will tackle the controversial issue of whether downsizing should be incentivised for those owners in properties which have become - in some opinions - too large for their needs.
This part of the review is expected to look at the economics of the 55-plus age group and whether they are appropriately supplied with specialist housing, and whether renting is adequately promoted as an option for owners who wish to change tenure.
Fourthly, and at the core of the report’s objectives, is an assessment of housing supply.
Redfern has already made clar that it is not doing a “full bottom-up review” of supply issues but it will look at recent planning changes and how they have impacted on current ownership rates. This part of the report will also consider the resourcing of local authorities to encouraging building, and government funding for larger developments.
Fifthly, and finally, the report will review recent initiatives such as Help To Buy, measures to support small and medium sized house builders, the ‘self-build army’, and programmes to release public sector land for housing.
The effect of stamp duty and other property taxes will also be reviewed in this section.