Report demands independent group to boost home ownership levels


A report from the Labour party has called for an independent housing commission to be established in order to raise the levels of home ownership in Britain.

In England, home ownership levels have fallen from around 70.9 per cent in 2003 to 63.6 per cent in 2014-15, says the report.

The Redfern Review said the commission would be tasked with understanding and making recommendations in terms of the level of demand, and to establish and learn the reasons behind the trends in house prices and purchases.

The investigation was led by Pete Redfern, chief executive of UK housebuilding firm Taylor Wimpey, and was requested by John Healey, the shadow housing secretary.

Rapid house price increases, declining incomes for younger people and tougher credit constraints for first-time buyers are blamed by the report for declining home ownership levels.

“The detailed analytical work of the review reveals the challenges that young people face in buying their first home,” Mr Redfern explained, “and highlights the impact on them of long-term falls in relative incomes and ability to borrow.

“We must focus on supporting today’s younger generation and creating a genuine long-term housing strategy independent of short-term party politics if we are to improve the position in a sustainable way for future generations.”

The report recommends that alterations should be made to the government’s Help to Buy scheme, so that it is targeted towards first-time buyers. It also suggests that more support is needed in the government schemes that promote savings among the younger generations, as well as to those living in the rental sector.

John Goodall, CEO and co-founder of peer to peer platform Landbay said: “Owning a home has become something of a privilege in the UK, and while homeownership levels are still well above the EU average, those hoping to get their foot on the ladder are finding it increasingly difficult to raise money for a mortgage deposit.

“Part of the solution will involve growing confidence in alternative investment options, which can help young people grow their deposits at a reasonable pace.”

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