Book a demo

Let a friendly Gnomen expert answer all of your questions and take you through the system online in 15 minutes. Just choose a time that suits you.

username pass repass
CAPTCHA Image Refresh
Sales: +44 (0) 208 123 9019 Support: +44 (0) 208 629 1208

Donna Kerwick

Client Liaison Manager at Gnomen Ltd

Twitter  LinkedIn

Housing White Paper – what does it mean for agents?

Gnomen - Housing White Paper – what does it mean for agents

Earlier this month the government released its eagerly-anticipated housing White Paper. The 104-page document sets out how the Conservative Party intends to improve the supply/demand imbalance of housing in the UK.

Titled 'Fixing our broken housing market', the document was unveiled by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid and includes comment from the Prime Minister Theresa May.

It sets out 29 objectives which the government hopes will help improve the provision of rental and owner occupier housing. The objectives are split into four categories: 'Planning for the right homes in the right places', 'Building homes faster', 'Diversifying the market' and 'Helping people now’.

As expected, the White Paper has been welcomed by some and criticised by others. But how will it impact estate and letting agents?

Rental sector focus

One of the key takeaways from the White Paper is that it is quite clear the government is keen for the Private Rented Sector (PRS) to growth further.

One of the principal rental sector objectives - and something that will have a direct effect on agents - is to 'make renting fairer for tenants'. While on the surface this proposal may seem a bit vague, the White Paper does explain that this measure includes introducing longer tenancies and of course going through with the proposed ban on letting agent fees charged to tenants.

There'll also be further encouragement of institutional investment in the fledgling Build to Rent sector - in which three-year tenancies will be the standard.

Housebuilding should become easier

When it comes to the owner occupier market, the White Paper makes it clear that the planning and housebuilding processes need to be simplified if the country wants to up its annual production of homes.

There is a pledge to make leasehold terms fairer, which is aimed to benefit house buyers, while there are also commitments to cutting red tape and providing free public land for construction.

Sajid Javid reiterated that there will be no building on the Green Belt – except in extreme circumstances. Other ideas put forward in order to stimulate the house building and property sales markets include clarifying what land is available for development, targeting the £2.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund and backing small and medium-sized house builders to grow.

Response and reaction

There has been a mixed response to the publishing of the White Paper. A number of the proposed measures have been welcomed by housing and property experts, but the main criticism is that the government’s plans aren’t bold or innovative enough to make a significant difference.
Here is what the trade bodies representing estate and letting agents had to say…

Mark Hayward, Managing Director of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA):

“Only 32,000 affordable homes were built in 2016, and this is totally unacceptable, especially given the number of homes we really need.”

“The announcement the government plans to diversify the market by opening it up to smaller builders who embrace innovative and efficient methods is great and could go some way in helping deliver a vast number of homes quickly.”

“However, it’s vital the government considers the cost of building modular homes and understands these could remain unaffordable and unsuitable.”

“Plans to help older people move at the right time and in the right way to free up homes for other buyers is an important issue and something we believe would make a big difference. Around two fifths of homes in the UK are owned by those aged over 65, who have no desire to move as they do not want to sustain the costs or stress involved with moving. They are considered ‘bedroom blockers’ and are the main reason why there are a large number of homes with two or three spare bedrooms.”

David Cox, Managing Director of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA):

“We are pleased that the government has signalled a move towards a mixed tenure approach to house building and recognised that owner-occupation is not the only option available. It is important that we have a housing market that works for everyone, not just for those who own their own property.”

 “ARLA welcomes plans to encourage more institutional investment to boost the number of properties available for rent. Any proposals that increase supply should be applauded.”

 “However, this approach should not be at the expense of small landlords. Experience has shown that, even in countries where institutional investment has been encouraged, it still only makes up a small part of the sector. Small landlords are vital to the health of our rental sector.”

“ARLA welcomes any attempt to improve stability in the housing market and it is important that tenants feel that they are secure in their homes. [We] have been working closely with DCLG on proposals for incentivising longer term tenancies; after all, it is in the best interests of landlords, tenants and agents to have long, well maintained tenancies.”

Looking ahead

The government now has around three years to implement its changes and make a difference. It is likely to be judged strongly on its housing performance in the run up to the next general election in 2020.

A number of the proposals put forward this month will require changes to the National Planning Policy Framework if they are to be implemented, while others will require consultation. All of which is likely to take weeks and months.

Read the housing White Paper in full here.

Here at Gnomen, we provide a range of property software and website design solutions for UK estate and letting agents.

All of our clients receive free training and free demonstrations. For more information about how we can provide your agency with cutting-edge technology, get in touch with us today on: 0208 123 9019.

Gnomen news

Is 2017 the beginning of the end for estate agent boards

For Sale and To Let boards have long proved divisive with some arguing they are still a useful marketing and advertising tool, while others argue that they are an eyesore and a relic from a different age. But have they had their day

> Read more

Good news for agents annual transactions remain strong

Despite the various challenges faced by the property industry in 2016. Brexit, stamp duty changes and tighter lending criteria chief among them

> Read more

House prices: what could happen in 2017?

Last year was a memorable one for a number of reasons, and throughout an astonishing 12 months which included the Brexit vote and election of Donald Trump the UK property market remained stable and consistent.

> Read more

Three tech resolutions for estate and letting agents

The new year is here and while many people will be spending January trying out a new diet or working hard at the gym, it's also a good time to review your business and make plans for the year ahead.

> Read more

Fees ban means letting agents must embrace tech and streamline processes

One announcement in Philip Hammonds recent Autumn Statement his first as Chancellor caused a bit of a stir in the property world

> Read more

Bricks or clicks-what the future of estate agency

Within our industry there has been a long-running debate between traditional high street estate agents and newer online operators which has focused on the future of our sector

> Read more

The number of new high street offices shows strength of agency sector

The number of high street estate and letting agents operating throughout the UK is on the rise, despite regular talk of the threat online/hybrid models pose to the more traditional way of doing things.

> Read more

The PropTech news stories that got us talking this month

The third quarter of 2016 was a characteristically busy three months in the property world. There was plenty of estate and letting agency news to get our teeth into over the summer

> Read more

Why Your Data is Better in the Cloud

See my guest blog on this PropTech special featured on NC Real Estate and find out the benefits of storing your data on the cloud

> Read more

Why a good website is crucial for estate and letting agents

We now live in an internet-reliant, thoroughly online age.

> Read more

The five most important estate agency news stories of the summer

Unfortunately summer is coming to an end now, but what an eventful few months it\'s been.

> Read more

Why agents must convert online enquiries to capita

Estate and letting agents' digital marketing spend has certainly increased over the last decade.

> Read more

Agents must put technology first as market tighte

It's now been well over a month since the EU referendum and we've started to see evidence of how the build-up to the historic vote and its aftermath have affected the UK property market.

> Read more

Proptech what is it and how can it help estate age

If you're an agent that likes to keep up with the news or often heads to industry events, then it's likely you'll have noticed an increased use of the word 'proptech'.

> Read more

How should estate and letting agents react to Brex

After a long and drawn out campaign, the British public last week decided to leave the European Union.

> Read more

Hybrid hits new heights as agents continue to inve

There's been a long and protracted debate about the benefits of online and traditional estate agency models over the last few years, with high street operators emphasising the importance of customer service and their online counterparts focusing their arguments on price.

> Read more

Our top tips for choosing a new property software

Software and estate agency are very closely linked. But, when it comes to property software, what should you be looking out for from providers?

> Read more

Is the single House Price Index good for estate agents

A single, definitive, official government house price index is set to be introduced in June this year, but is this something that should have estate agents cheering from the rooftops?

> Read more

Gnomen integrates with Property Inspection App

Gnomen property management software announces its new partnership with Property inventory and inspection reporting App, InventoryBase. Gnomen offers this via their 'add- ons' that Gnomen customers can purchase via their marketplace.

> Read more