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Agency groups hope to 'maintain momentum' with new Housing Secretary

Estate agency trade body Propertymark is hoping to “maintain momentum” with newly appointed Housing Secretary Greg Clark.

He replaces Michael Gove, who was sacked by Boris Johnson on Wednesday evening before the Prime Minister then outlined plans to leave Downing Street.

Clark has plenty on his plate from the Renters Reform Bill to leasehold issues, extending right to buy to housing associations and the age-old challenge of building more homes.

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He served as Secretary of State for the old Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) from May 2015 until July 2016 so is familiar with the brief.

Clark was also Business Secretary between July 2016 and July 2019 under Theresa May's government.

Nathan Emerson, chief executive of Propertymark, said: “We have previously met Greg Clark when he held the equivalent position in what was DCLG. 

“The hope from having someone with this experience is that he will be able to maintain momentum on important issues such as renters reform, leasehold, building and fire safety requirements and regulation standards amongst property professionals.”

Nick Leeming, chairman of Jackson-Stops, added: “Another new Housing Secretary isn’t surprising as we all watch the turmoil of the past 24-hours in Westminster with more than 50 ministerial resignations. 

“What is good about Greg Clark is that his previous stint on the front line as Business Secretary as well having previously served as secretary of state for communities and local government should put him in good standing when examining the deadlock between housebuilders and government, to encourage rather than impede the swift delivery of new homes to meet rising demand. 

“The Levelling Up agenda under Gove was a clear Borism that he has since urged his successors to continue to pursue.

“But whether the Conservatives can retain power in the longer term is something that remains to be seen, with political posturing the course of the day. I hope minsters put the nation first at this critical time for the economy and for the housing market.

“Halifax reported that house prices increased 13% in the last year, the highest annual growth since 2004, with a mix of high inflation and rising mortgage rates pushing homeownership out of reach for many. 

“However, the rate of growth is slowing, with a much steadier outlook for the market likely to be reflected in next stream of residential transaction figures as the lag catches up. We need stability for the economy and housing market to thrive and that is what many are predicting for the months ahead, so a quick return to business as usual is welcomed.”

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