Boris Johnson’s tenure as Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party has come to an end, serving 3 years and 44 days in the top job.
It’s safe to say it hasn’t been easy navigation for Mr Johnson, who has had to grapple with Brexit, a global health pandemic and numerous political scandals that ultimately knocked him off his perch .
Looking back, how did Boris and his cabinet shape the UK market as we see it today and leave it healthy for his successor, Liz Truss?
Stamp duty holidays and response to Covid-19
One of the first major issues facing the Prime Minister and his Cabinet was the turbulent times of the pandemic and the multiple lockdowns that were imposed on the UK in 2020.
Many can argue that the stamp duty holiday that ran between 2020 and 2021 helped simulate the real estate market that stalled for months during the first initial lockdowns, seeing the highest number of transactions since before the crash 2007 financial.
However, we have seen negative effects of the stamp duty holiday, with rising house prices, a highly competitive market that has caused bidding wars that have made it harder for homebuyers to obtain the house they wanted.
It has also caused further problems for first-time home buyers, as house prices have risen and reduced the number of affordable homes on offer.
Despite record property price growth, the market is showing signs of slowing down, falling 0.1% in July 2022 as the UK begins to feel the effects of the current cost of living and housing crisis. higher interest rates for new mortgages.
Build 300,000 houses a year The goal is moving away
Plans to build new homes to tackle the UK’s housing crisis have also stalled in recent years, with reports suggesting the government’s target of 300,000 is unlikely to ever be met, thanks to housing shortages. labour, the bureaucracy of planning permissions and increased construction costs. materials.
Just above 243,000 households were built between 2019 and 2020, the closest to the proposed target.
Although this shows that 300,000 can be achieved, the government must seriously address the obstacles preventing developers from building more housing, so that they can meet the target they set in the last election and put end to the current housing crisis.
A delay in rental reforms seems likely
Another major announcement was the White Paper on Rental Reform, aimed at transforming the UK rental market and providing more security for tenants.
Removing no-fault evictions (Section 21), reforming Section 8 notices, and allowing tenants to keep pets in their properties were key policies, as well as cracking down on unscrupulous landlords who often take advantage of tenants.
However, this worried landlords, taking away their ability to quickly reclaim their property if they needed to, as well as having to rely more on the legal system to evict troublesome tenants.
These tenancy reforms have been shelved more recently, following the turmoil of widespread government resignations, including the sacking of Michael Gove as housing secretary.
It seems likely that we will see these reforms come into play in 2023.
Thatcher 2.0 and the right to buy system
And, in a bid to give more people the chance to buy their own home, Boris recently announced that the right to buy scheme would be reintroduced, allowing people living in social housing to buy the house in which they live.
The scheme was first introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s government and although 1.8 million homes were sold between 1980 and 2021, demand declined during the 1990s and 2000s.
It has also contributed to the huge shortage of social housing we are currently experiencing, with less than one in three homes replacing homes purchased through the scheme and a reduction of around 200,000 homes since the Tories came to power in 2010.
Liz Truss becomes Prime Minister
As Boris Johnson steps down as Prime Minister, his legacy when it comes to the property market is somewhat mixed.
While we have seen plenty of support measures to boost the industry during the lockdown, we have been left with a volatile real estate industry made up of issues such as rising house prices, a shortage of affordable housing and a very tight rental market. competitive price which has driven up prices for tenants.
We are also in the midst of a cost of living crisis which is already causing problems for many households and is expected to cause further strains as we enter October.
Now that Liz Truss has taken the reins, we are likely to see a quick response to the rising cost of living and the energy crisis, after she vowed to act within a week of her nomination as Prime Minister.
Millions of households are grappling with rising costs and risk falling into fuel poverty as the winter season approaches. Emergency measures must therefore be put in place to help those who need it most.
Looking ahead, Prime Minister Truss should also make the housing crisis a priority and tackle the housing shortage in the UK.
The rental housing shortage in particular is evidence that the government needs to do more to provide quality housing for tenants, rather than focusing most of its attention on home ownership.
If 300,000 homes a year is not viable, we need to see a more realistic and sustainable goal that will solve the problems with the housing stock.