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Government has ‘given up on housing for young people’ – claim

An estate agency veteran has urged Government ministers to consider where their own children will live amid a continuing shortage of property on the market.

Simon Gerrard, managing director of Martyn Gerrard estate agents and past-president of the National Association of Estate Agents, has suggested buyers are still waiting for the dust to settle after September’s mini-Budget but argues the real issue the sector faces is a lack of supply.

It comes after Zoopla’s latest House Price Index shows house price growth has slowed and demand is rising but remains below the five-year average.


Gerrard said: “The reported fall in house prices at the back end of last year confirms we’re still feeling the ripples of September’s mini-Budget and the wider economic pressures. I don’t think demand has necessarily disappeared, as we have had a busier than expected return after Christmas.

“However, some people are choosing to remain patient, hold steady, and wait to see if there are any further changes to interest rates or whether the wider economy improves in the near future. “However, this dip in demand that is likely behind the price drop should only be temporary, and I am hopeful for a return to growth.”
He suggested there are still people looking to buy in more affluent areas of the country but said the real issue is the lack of supply in the market, which Gerrard said has probably prevented an even sharper fall in prices than the moderate drop being reported.

Gerrard added: “There simply aren’t enough properties coming onto the market, nor is new stock being built at the rate we need. 

“The question every politician should be asking is where are my children going to live? 

“I think this Government has given up on housing for young people. Moreover, those that can’t afford to buy are also now having affordability problems with renting, as the Government has killed the buy to let market. The Government needs to realise that increasing the tax burden on landlords has ultimately hit the pockets of tenants too.

“The issues around supply are far from being resolved as the Government continues to avoid confronting the ‘NIMBYs’ who oppose badly needed housing developments near them, and local councils continue resist developers’ attempts to expand existing stock. 

“Authorities and those opposing new development seem to be wilfully ignoring a very real and growing problem – we have a growing population, a shortage of housing stock, and a widening gap between the two. The country, and the housing market, needs strong leadership and this starts with enacting the planning reform urgently required.”

Agency trade body Propertymark has also commented on the Zoopla report, its chief executive Nathan Emerson said: “Estate agents have noted a booming January with a rise in homes coming to the market and plenty of keen sellers present.

"Buyers are learning quickly that the power of the purchase is now in their hands due to competition levels easing for the first time in a while, but their purse strings are being tightened and some are now looking for slightly smaller, more cost effective homes than before."


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