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JONATHAN ROLANDE: Starmer’s golden opportunity

So, now we know. After weeks of reports predicting a Labour landslide, Keir Starmer is indeed unpacking his boxes and settling into life at Number 10.
The fact that Mr Starmer’s changed Labour Party has won the election was tipped in the polls for so long, makes it easy to think it was a foregone conclusion It was not. 

In five years he has taken his party from electoral obliteration under Jeremy Corbyn to Government – no mean feat. It is safe to say he must be a more savvy, and indeed ruthless political operator, than his cautious appearances would have us think.

Whatever your politics, I am sure we all agree that there is a mountain to climb to get this country back on track. The property market will sit very low on his list of priorities but housing itself, well that’s a different story. 


The appalling state of housing cannot be swept under the carpet any longer. The average first time buyer is in their mid-thirties and if things continue as they have been, children today won’t be buying until they are in their 50’s, if ever. 

For many young people who voted this, the availability of housing was very high on their agenda.

With such a large majority and an opposition who will now tear themselves into even smaller pieces as they struggle to regroup, Starmer now has a golden opportunity to drive through the planning and housing reforms relatively unopposed.

This will cause some ripples in the property market. Buyers and especially investors do not like change. 

Predictability is key for landlords, house builders and developers and a lack of confidence is contagious, it soon affects homebuyers too. 

To re-balance the market I believe we shall soon see things that give us, in the business of buying, selling or letting homes plenty to complain about.

Expect more regulation to protect tenants especially. It will stop short of rent capping, but only just.

A turbo-charged Renters Reform Bill is likely to be the first thing we’ll see.

Councils will be freed up to build more homes, creating competition that has been lacking in recent years. This may help to suppress prices and rents. 

There will be improved employment rights and, in some form, higher taxes for those towards the top of the pile. Yes, I know we were promised no increases but I suspect there will be.

Second home levies, overseas buyer taxes and CGT changes would generate millions without upsetting the ‘hard-working taxpayer’.
Bold initiatives will shock the housing market and we may see adverse effects.

But we should also see the positives. Good landlords will be rewarded, bad will be ones driven out. The same with good employers. As more homes become available and the pressure on prices and rents eases, younger colleagues will have a proper chance to buy or rent a decent home, put down roots and have something worth working for. Employing good people should become easier.

The medicine is likely to be bitter, but its results will, I hope, be worth that temporary discomfort.

And if you’re worried about the impact this new Government with its mega-majority may have on your business or your career, I say this.

I always remember the wise words of Andrew Marr as he presented his tv programme immediately after the shock Brexit vote was announced. It went something like this…

“For those of you that voted for it, well it probably won’t be as good as you hoped. For those who voted against, it won’t be as bad as you fear.”

Whatever you think of the result, today is just another day in the office. We carry on, await events and we deal with them.

It’s what property people are good at. 

We always have been. And we always will be. 


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