general election

The general election: what’s ahead for the property market

In just seven days time, every voter in the UK will be asked to put their X in the box beside their preferred candidate in the 2019 general election.

The parties are on the election trail. The candidates are packed into hustings, taking questions on a wide variety of policies and issues from the electorate.

But where do each of the three main parties stand on the issue of housing?

And what difference will that make to voters when they step into the polling station on Thursday, December 12?

Manifesto pledges on housing

Making homes more affordable for first-time buyers, helping older homeowners to downsize into more appropriate accommodation and ensuring families can find a secure place to stay are priorities for many voters.

We took a look at the manifestos of the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats to see what each has to say about housing and the broader property market.

On improving affordability

Conservatives: They have committed to building 29k new homes that will then be sold at a 30 percent discount on the market rate to locals who can’t afford to buy in their own area. The party also intends to promote a new lending market in long-term mortgages at a fixed rate that would only require a 5 percent deposit.

Labour: Local people would be given “first dibs” on new-build homes. Meanwhile, the party intends to spend £75 billion on 100,000 new council houses and 50,000 affordable housing association homes by 2024.

Liberal Democrats: The party says it will be implement a new Rent to Own policy in social housing. This would allow tenants to gain an incremental share in their home until they owned it outright. The LibDems are also promising to build 300,000 new homes every year.

What’s new for first-time buyers?

Conservatives: Having introduced Help to Buy in 2013, the party is promising to extend the scheme until 2023. More longer-term fixed-rate mortgages would also help first-time buyers who only have a low deposit.

Labour: Help to Buy would stay under Labour but with a greater focus on first-time buyers on “ordinary” incomes. Those earning above a certain threshold would no longer be eligible for government help.

Liberal Democrats: Surprisingly, considering they were part of the Coalition Government that initially brought in Help to Buy, the LibDems have no specific policy on either continuing, reforming or ditching the project.

More homes from everyone

Conservatives: All parties are pledging to build more homes. The Conservatives have had a long-time commitment to building 300k new homes every year in England by the middle of the next decade.

Labour: The party is focusing on social housing, promising to launch a new social housebuilding programme that will create more than a million homes over a decade. It also intends to set a new definition of affordable that will be linked to local incomes.

Liberal Democrats: The LibDems are matching the Conservatives in their pledge to build 300,000 new homes every year. Their total would specifically include 100,000 for social rent.

Reforming leasehold

Conservatives: While in government, the Conservatives have begun to implement some reform to the leasehold system. The ban on selling new homes with leasehold would continue. Meanwhile, any new leaseholds would be set with a peppercorn rent. The proposals also include making it easier for leaseholders to buy their freehold.

Labour: Like the Conservatives, Labour are committed to leasehold reform leasehold and would also ban the sale of new leasehold properties. The party also wants to abolish “unfair” fees and make leasehold purchase more affordable.

Liberal Democrats: The 2019 general election manifesto offers no particular policy on leasehold reform.

Voting begins at 7 am on Thursday, December 12 and the polls close at 10 pm.