It is that time again in the UK. The silly season comes around every so often, when people stand on street corners introducing themselves to totally disinterested commuters as the local Labour/Conservative/LibDem/Looney Party candidate. Yes, it is election time.
This is a property newsletter, and I will refrain from commenting on political issues, other than to say that current MPs in Parliament have made a total mess of Brexit and the vast majority of the public wants a decision to be made (any decision!) sooner rather than later.
During the course of the current parliament, the housing affordability and shortage problems have not been on the government’s agenda. But, surprise surprise, they are now.
The ongoing problems are most acute in the affordable homes sector. Sixty thousand homes classed as affordable were supplied between April 2017 and March last year, according to official figures. While this is an improvement on the 43,473 built in 2015-2016, it is still below the ten-year average of 62,400.
All the parties need to woo voters in marginal seats and one way of doing so is to make broad, sweeping statements on how they intend to fix the problems.
Of course, all of them are promising (as they have in the past) to spend money they won’t have and deliver houses that will never get built. Once elected, they can re-prioritise and spend the money elsewhere.
More broken promises are on the horizon, whichever party is elected. The housing sector needs a major rethink, and unfortunately, the UK’s politicians are either not interested or not up to the task.
On to brighter subjects, after having our UK office in London for twenty-five years, we have decided to move it to Chester in the north of England.
Our London-focused clients have nothing to worry about and we are certainly not abandoning the capital. We will retain a presence there and will develop more properties when the time is right.
In the meantime, there are some great income-producing opportunities in the north, and being based in Chester will help us access these more easily.