Real Estate Blog: Levelling up - Déjà vu or something new?

The Government's long awaited “Levelling Up” White Paper was published last week setting out the proposed systems reform and policy programme for the future, to address inequalities across the regions. Part of the policy is a focus on improving the quality and availability of housing, but I have a feeling of Déjà vu.

The Government's mission statement is that “By 2030, renters will have a secure path to ownership, with the number of first-time buyers increasing in all areas; and the government's ambition is for the number of non-decent rented homes to have fallen by 50%, with the biggest improvements in the lowest performing areas.” All well and good, but the big question is how will this be achieved? A lack of housing stock has been a long-term issue and the Government have still not managed to achieve their manifesto promise of delivering 300,000 units per year, so is this White Paper going to provide the answers? The answer is no one is sure. The paper lacks detail although does highlight the following: -

  • Homes England are to support local authorities in delivering new housing
  • There is an acknowledgement that the planning system is currently failing

I think anyone who works in residential development knows only too well the frustrations of the planning system. The inherent problems have been further compounded by the pandemic and followed now by a lack of staff at local authorities due to the “Great Resignation”. There is going to be a further White Paper in Spring which will focus on the PRS market, which has great potential, and the often-overlooked retirement living sector. These two areas have the potential to help with the housing shortage but won't be enough on their own. We need a holistic approach to this with all sectors working together and with Government to deliver the change needed to fix our broken housing market. So, at the moment, I have a sense of Déjà vu, but with a glimmer of hope that something new is on the horizon.

If you would like to discuss anything covered in this Real Estate Blog, please contact Sarah Rowe.


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