‘Shortage of homes’ – this term has been used frequently over the last couple of years, and although there has been a frenzied level of activity from private developers, especially in areas like Canary Wharf and Kings Cross, it still hasn’t been enough to solve the housing problem. However, things are starting to look promising in the Capital, with the government allocating £200 million of its £400 million fund towards the development of 20 new housing zones in London. This figure will also be matched by the Greater London Assembly, bringing the total figure to £400 million. It is estimated that it will take roughly ten years to build the targeted 50,000 homes and will also create around 100,000 jobs.
The Mayor, Boris Johnson, has also been given the responsibility and the authority to speed up progress of the developments if local boroughs fall behind schedule. It looks like the government are very serious about the housing crisis, and I applaud them for taking measures in improving the situation.
Johnson said that ‘Housing is the biggest challenge facing London’s economic development and these new £400 million housing zones will turbo boost housing supply across the capital. This major regeneration will transform communities and provide up to 50,000 much needed homes. They will support 250,000 Londoners into low cost home ownership over the next decade’.
I am pleased with this news as it was becoming a real problem. There just isn’t enough homes to go round for everyone and in recent years, we’ve seen overseas investors snapping up properties before the young Londoner even has time to consider it. With more options set to become available, it should give reassurances to those looking to buy, especially the first time buyer.
There are still some issues to be dealt with. Recently, we’ve seen rumours of an interest rate hike and stricter mortgage lending criteria so it will be interesting to see how things pan out in the future.
Just to finish off with a story as a I like to do, I believe this story sums up the current situation. I had an applicant who was searching for their first property and they had their heart set on a beautiful, modern development in Aldgate. Prices were just above their budget in the building but they were so keen that they offered anyway, at the highest price they could. The problem was, there was a line of other people with bigger nuggets who also offered. As expected, their offer was rejected. Their disappointment was obvious and I felt sorry for them. They had their perfect dream home in their mind and this property ticked all their boxes.
I showed them a few other flats but nothing was close to the quality of their first choice. They eventually gave up and stopped looking and are currently renting privately. This was a year ago and I like to call them to have a catch-up. They still have their eye on the market for another flat in the building, but unfortunately, nothing else has become available through me, or through other agencies. A lack of choices has left them looking up at the first rung of the property ladder.
Fingers crossed, for them and for every first time buyer, that an ideal property at a suitable price is found. With the Mayor’s involvement in the development of new homes, I feel optimistic for the future of the housing market.