Labour v Conservative Housing Policy – an analysis

Landlord Today has published an analysis of the two main parties with their stance on housing.

The article can be seen here, and says that Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons, observes that there is minimal difference between the housing policies of the Conservative and Labour parties, both aiming to increase homeownership. Key elements of both parties’ plans include building more homes, implementing a mortgage guarantee scheme for low-deposit buyers, and imposing stricter regulations on landlords. Beveridge notes that the rental market could see the most significant changes if Labour wins, with potential reforms affecting tenants and landlords alike.

Housebuilding & Homeownership Policies

Conservative Policy:

  • Housing Targets: 1.6 million homes in the next Parliament, with an expected achievement of their 2019 pledge to build one million homes.
  • Help to Buy Scheme: Revamped to allow first-time buyers to purchase new-build homes with a 5% deposit and a 20% government equity loan.
  • Mortgage Guarantee Scheme: Continued support for 95% LTV mortgages.
  • Brownfield Development: Prioritizing housebuilding on brownfield sites and increasing urban density.
  • Support for Local Builders: Setting aside land for smaller builders and reducing burdens on smaller sites.
  • Affordable Homes Programme: Renewed to provide homes of all tenures.
  • Self-Build Simplification: Easing planning for self-builders and supporting community housing schemes.

Labour Policy:

  • Housing Targets: 1.5 million new homes over the next Parliament.
  • Planning Reform: Updating the National Policy Planning Framework and improving local planning processes.
  • First-Time Buyer Preference: Giving younger buyers priority in new developments and offering a government-backed mortgage guarantee scheme.
  • Housing Recovery Plan: Rapid planning reform to increase housebuilding.
  • New Towns: Developing new communities with well-designed homes and amenities.
  • Devolution to Mayors: Granting mayors more control over planning and housing investment.
  • Social and Affordable Housing: Significant increase in building social and affordable homes.

Rental Market Policies

Conservative Policy:

  • Following the Renters Reform Bill, including banning ‘no-fault’ evictions, abolishing fixed-term tenancies, allowing pets in rentals, and creating a National Landlord Register and Decent Homes Standard.

Labour Policy:

  • Abolishing Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions immediately.
  • Giving tenants the power to challenge unreasonable rent increases.
  • Tightening landlord regulations, including stricter energy performance requirements and faster hazard investigations.
  • Exploring rent control options, though officially not endorsing blanket rent controls.

Leasehold Reform

Conservative Policy:

  • Removing marriage value, extending lease lengths to 990 years, banning new leasehold houses, and increasing transparency in leasehold costs.

Labour Policy:

  • Extending leasehold reform to include all Law Commission proposals, capping ground rents, and making commonhold the default tenure.

Stamp Duty Tax

Conservative Policy:

  • Maintaining the current nil-rate band for first-time buyers at £425k.
  • Committing not to increase stamp duty rates or levels.

Labour Policy:

  • Proposing an additional 1% stamp duty surcharge for overseas buyers.

Capital Gains Tax

Conservative Policy:

  • Freezing capital gains tax rates and offering 100% relief if landlords sell to tenants.

Labour Policy:

  • Rumored plans to increase capital gains tax, but nothing officially announced.

Schools and Second Homes

Labour Policy on Schools:

  • Plans to charge VAT on private school fees, which could shift demand towards state schools and affect housing markets near top-rated schools.

Second Homes Policies:

  • Conservative Policy: Enacting a 300% council tax premium on second homes from April 2025.
  • Labour Policy: Considering licensing schemes for short-lets and tighter definitions for holiday let exemptions.

In summary, both parties aim to increase homeownership and regulate the rental market, with Labour proposing potentially more extensive reforms in rental regulations and planning policy. The impact on the housing market will depend on the implementation and response to these policies

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