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Agency boss: Government must stop fighting and fix the property market

Winkworth is calling for the Government to take immediate action to fix the property market. 

On the eve of the Tory party conference, the agency franchise brand’s chief executive Dominic Agace said political infighting on the housing market should stop.

He said the Government should focus on three areas: stop internal battles around housing delivery and focus on building more homes by providing more resources for planning, make it easier for first time buyers to move on by introducing incentives for downsizers to create a more fluid property market and take urgent measures to increase supply in the private rented sector by bringing back mortgage interest relief for landlords. 


Speaking on the latest episode of Winkworth’s The Property Exchange podcast, Agace said: “The most acute structural problem is in the rental sector. It has become caught up in electioneering. We are seeing rent rises in London of 15%, with 10% forecast next year. “The lack of supply is caused by increased intervention by the government and tax changes.

"A healthy rental sector is crucial to the success of a city to attract young professionals. We are hearing stories of families squeezing into smaller properties because that’s all they can afford. We need people to be able to be where they need to live for work in a place that’s suitable for them.  There is a move towards build to rent properties, which are institutionally owned, but these are not available yet to meet the current demand. We need the government to take some quick action and reverse the tax measures to encourage landlords.” 

He added that in-fighting has caused housing targets to disappear. Agace said: “Local authorities have been hollowed out through a lack of investment, with planning officers regional rather than local. Complex legislation, which leads to a longer planning process all results in delays to more home building. We need to simplify to allow more access locally to build more suitable properties.” 

Adam Stackhouse, Winkworth's managing director of developments and commercial investments, told the podcast that a planning enforcement team should be introduced immediately to increase supply. He said: “A joint team from the private and public sectors could be parachuted into local authorities to fix these problems, with a 90-day turnaround time, to look at planning applications stuck on the shelf. 

“The Government should deliver incentives that offer up a fair land value. Housebuilders don’t like sitting on land, they like to build. There is also an incredible shortfall in the social housing sector, with only 33,000 properties constructed in recent years, with a waiting list of more than a million.” 

Business rate reform, with a process for revaluation for smaller businesses has been mooted by Labour –  described as a smart move by Stackhouse.

He said: “This can be based on a regional grading so that businesses in more deprived areas have a greater chance of success. Moving the tax burden on to online retailers is a very wise move.”  

To tune into the latest episode of The Property Exchange, presented by commentator Anne Ashworth, listen on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-property-exchange/id1569362828?i=1000629471219

  • Matt Faizey

    Amen Winkies
    Spot on.

    And with so so many councils having paused local plan reviews/making due the the farce of the NPPF review it's only going to get worse.

    For a supposedly pro-growth, pro-business party/gov they're doing a great job of hindering both.

    What is more I don't think any current minister could ever talk in positive terms about doing positive things for the UK housing market.

    They have caused monstrous house price inflation since 2015 and demonised landlords to the point we now have a real issue with the rental market.


  • icon

    We need to understand that the modern Conservative party is not as we remember. It is New Labour. The Labour party too scary to think about. Its all about votes and power.


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