In response to yesterday’s budget regarding the removal of stamp duty for most first time buyers Low Carbon Construction has responded with a pledge to take on the stamp duty of ALL the affordable homes that they build, with a view to building 10,000 affordable homes a year by 2021.
Low Carbon Construction (LCC) believes that the removal of stamp duty should not just be the privilege of the first time buyers but all those that are operating under a salary threshold that makes purchasing a property a real challenge. As families grow and require more rooms they should not continue to be burdened by stamp duty on top of the property purchase costs when they are in need of an affordable solution. It is thought that LCC are in fact the first construction company to offer such an arrangement, paying the stamp duty on behalf of the purchasers of all their affordable homes.
Provisions for affordable housing must go further and really address the problems directly. Simon Allso, the innovator behind LCC, believes that many times in the past years the government has made ‘available’ money in the form of Help to Buy and various other schemes but to what end, after all that effort still a housing crisis and broken system even after the bold claims ‘of helping 400,000 new buyers. He comments:
“The fact is that we need to build substantially more affordable homes and not devise ‘financial schemes’ that simply help developers sell high price houses. Just follow the share price of all the major housebuilders in the UK – Help to Buy rumours of scaling down and down goes their share price! A new government scheme to help buyers purchase and up goes their share price! A cynical thought, but maybe these schemes help house builders more than the buyers who are simply being helped to buy an expensive home instead of an affordable one in the first place. SO please Philip and Theresa – stop wasting money and address the actual problem.”
Money is simply not enough – whilst a noble statement that the government will do ‘whatever it takes’ to solve the affordable housing criss, the problem can not be solved by government alone. Just ‘throwing money at the problem; will not make the major house builders suddenly be able to deliver immediately as they are traditional businesses building in a traditional way. A change in the manner of construction is what is needed to allow the number of homes to be built and the government must wake up to this realisation and act. We want to to work with these traditional, large house builders to help them deliver on their existing land bank in an innovative way, which is the true answer to this issue.
The fact is the UK needs more affordable homes and not just market value houses to make up the numbers. It needs these in the areas that traditional house builders shun – where they are low profit developments as the market value may well be low in that area – and not just houses for houses sake. This can best be achieved by adopting a lower construction cost method, whilst still providing a higher specification home.
The solution must also be sustainable which requires contractual obligations incorporated into the provision of affordable housing. There must be a new protection for affordable housing in the very areas where it is needed most – high value property areas. Failure to do that will lead us around in one very big circle and back to the crisis that is already here. Certainly people should buy their homes, that is a good thing – but they need to be sold at some point in the future as still affordable – not letting an individual profit at the expense of the next generation that needs to buy an affordable home.