Khan to tackle key London housing issues

As the usual post-election riposte continues, London’s new mayor, Sadiq Khan, gave us our first glimpse of his vision to “put London first” in his official signing-in ceremony.

With the capital’s housing problems at the heart of all pre-election campaigns, Sadiq Khan will be expected to deliver on those vote-winning promises pretty quickly. Although some may see this campaign, like many others before it, as stocked with unachievable targets and more new schemes.

The statistics

According to CML, “People living in London have the highest incomes in the country – and the greatest average wealth – yet only around half the population are owner-occupiers, compared to around 64% for the UK as a whole. Average house prices are much higher in the capital than in the rest of the country, and affordability for would-be owner-occupiers is particularly challenging.”

Data from the Office for National Statistics showed a rental increase of 4% in London against 3% elsewhere. Ultimately, there isn’t enough affordable housing in London and it’s reaching crisis point.

Sadiq Khan’s pre-election campaign

  • Set-up a new team at City Hall dedicated to fast-tracking the building of genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy.
  • Put Londoners first by setting a target for 50 percent of all new homes to be affordable.
  • Stop buy-to-leave and give “first dibs” to first-time buyers and local tenants.
  • End homes in new developments being sold off-plan to overseas investors.
  • Ensure a minimum of 80,000 new homes are built each year.
  • Bring forward more land to build homes where they’re needed the most.
  • Create new affordable housing with rent based on a third of average local income.
  • Launch a not-for-profit lettings agency to promote long-term stable tenancies.
  • Launch a landlord licensing scheme.

Springtide Capital’s thoughts

There are already a number of schemes to help affordability for buyers, and although more are welcome, the physical shortage of properties is a priority, as is ensuring that Londoners get “first dibs”. The asking price for those properties is also vitally important.

A similar scheme is operated in Cornwall where a number of properties are only available to buy for those who already live and work within the local area.

As a business who assists the purchase of many buy-to-let properties, we’d like to ensure that landlords still see long-term investment, as the rental market plays an extremely important role in housing – tax and regulatory changes already threaten to limit the sector’s potential.

It is promising that housing has been prioritised in the new mayor’s campaign however, demand is outstripping supply and continues to cause affordability issues – it’s not an easy problem to fix, but we sincerely hope he finds a way to help Londoners on to the property ladder.