Powerful promises have been issued from all parties when the property market is concerned. Power to the renters, all-out assault on rogue landlords and the removal of vital repossession lifelines are all on the table over the next few weeks, but that does the General Election of 2019 mean for Tameside if a Conservative government is the outcome?
- Property Purchase Discounts
- Infrastructure Planning
- Green Belt Protection
- High-rise Safety
- The Rental and Sales Market
With political campaigning in full swing in the borough to re-shape the nation, I want to take an opportunity to break down the views of each political party and what their manifestos mean for the Tameside property market; as well as its homeowners, renters, landlords and the homeless.
In 1979, Margaret Thatcher was voted in on a Tory landslide with the ‘right to buy your own council house’ being a mainstay of Conservative policy. She encouraged people to buy their own their own council flats and houses, although it might interest you to know, that the council tenant right to buy idea was first proposed in the late 1950’s and formed part of the manifesto of the Labour party. Yet Maggie’s version was based on massive discounts for tenants and 100% mortgages (i.e. no deposit).
However, the real bugbear was that half the monies raised form the house sales went to central Government and the other half to the local authorities; but that money had to be used to reduce the local authorities debt rather than building new houses – so houses were being sold and not replaced.
Fast-forward to 40 years from Thatcher’s victory and Boris Johnson’s manifesto has its own contributions when it comes to property.
Property Purchase Discounts
The Conservatives have vowed to allow councils to use the money they raise from developers through the planning process to give low-paid local people a discount of up to a third on some of the new homes built.
Indeed there is no shortage of new builds under construction or in development across Tameside (Hattersley in particular is a testament to this statement). At present, the majority of Tameside new builds are all larger family homes; primarily comprised of three and four bedroom semi-detached and detached properties. These typically come with figures north of £250,000.00.
There are a handful of developments across the borough with smaller two bedroom terrace houses, but the quantity of larger homes vastly outstrips these smaller; ideal for first time buyer properties. In the event a new Tory government give a whole third off this higher price bracket, that would mean these £250k properties reside at the £160k mark. That is still a considerable amount for first time Tameside homeowners who typically look at the £90-120k mark. This is likely to encourage further growth in the rental market however, with affordability of homeownership still remaining an issue.
The Tories are vowing to change planning rules so infrastructure such as schools and GP surgeries have to be built before housing. This is absolutely crucial, particularly with the number of on-going developments in the borough.
When you analyse developments such as Godley Green (which if built will be one of the largest housing developments in the country), there are no current to expand the number of GPs and schools. With this in mind, it’s fair to say our already strained resources in the borough will take a ruthless hammering.
Given the tight deadlines and number of properties the current Tory government have already set themselves as targets, the addition of infrastructure into the mix makes it harder for the Tories to make these deadlines.
Green Belt Protection
On the subject of Godley Green, the Tories have promised in their manifesto that they would strive to protect our green belt. Tamesiders are certainly vocal when it comes to the protection of our beautiful green spaces, with a fairly sized demonstration march taking place in the borough last year.
From a planning perspective, utilising green belt for developments is obviously a relatively easy move with a minimal number of considerations to take. However by utilising our green belt land for these developments, there are the environmental risks and also damaging factors to animal welfare. As many Tamesiders have rightly pointed out, there are a vast quantity of brown sites that make ideal candidates for regeneration and transformation into new build developments.
Damaging green belt space has the implication of destroying animal habitats, making our local Tameside wildlife homeless; which leads me quite nicely onto the next point. The Tories have pledged to end homelessness in Tameside by the end of the next parliament stint, absorbing part of this cost with 3% of stamp duty surcharge on foreign buyers.
There’s ho hiding that homelessness figures have rocketed in the region over recent years. In their new manifesto, the Tories have pledged to cut this entirely by the end of their next stint in Parliament.
One of the major issues surrounding Tameside’s rough sleepers is the lies and deceit of scammers. It’s never pleasant to see a genuine rough sleeper when out and about in the borough, and I like to ensure I do my part where possible to help them. However with the surge in rough sleeping across the borough, there are those who pray on this fact by sitting outside Tameside banks and stores pretending to be homeless; whilst sporting a top end smartphone and having a roof over their heads to return to that evening. This issue is not helped with the current reduced number of police officers on the streets, meaning the issue of scrupulous scammers fronting as rough sleepers remains loosely monitored whilst genuine homeless individuals suffer. However, part of the Tory manifesto promotes an increase in police officers on our streets, which if undertaken will contribute towards cracking down on these scam artists.
Following on from the tragic Grenfell Tower incident, the Tories have further pledged to remove unsafe cladding from high-rise buildings across the country. The lack of investment in high-rise towers across Tameside since the 70’s and 80’s however mean the majority of the borough’s tower blocks are all concrete renders as opposed to the modern cladding utilised on newer tower developments. This is one point in the Tories manifesto where no work as such is required in Tameside; however this notion still remains when you consider the number of new commercial buildings and amenities that have been decked out in cladding over recent years.
The Rental and Sales Market
As I’ve already discussed on the Tameside property blog, there is then the issue of the scrapping of Section 21. This vital lifeline allows Tameside landlords to reclaim their properties in a legal manner in the event of a tenancy turning sour; such as damage to a property or mounting arrears. The Tories are fully backing the pledge to scrap Section 21, with Boris Johnson commenting: “at the moment, renting a property can also be an uncertain and unsettling business, and the costs of deposits make it harder to move.
“We are going to fix that”.
The move will mean that all evictions in Tameside will have to go through the courts, driving eviction costs up to the landlords and inevitably creating a backlog of cases waiting to be taken through the legal process. This proposed move has already seen a number of credible and abiding landlords exit the Tameside property market, providing less rental stock to meet the considerably growing demand.
Tameside’s rental sector is predominately made up of young people, from 24 – 35-year-olds who are struggling to grapple and get onto the property market. In the Tory manifesto however, promises have been made that in addition to the number of ongoing new build developments, a million more private, affordable homes will be made available by 2025. Of course, this number applies to the country as a whole and it is unclear at present how many of these would be made available to Tameside or the surrounding area. This would require 250,000 to be built per year, a reduction on the target of 300,000 new homes the Tories have already set themselves at present.
In addition, the Tories have promised an alternative to the Help to Buy equity scheme; a factor that should they be elected will be reportedly implemented by 2023.
Whilst there are no doubts that Brexit has a dominating factor over this election, I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all Tamesiders (and those of you outside the borough who remain interested in our property market) to think as openly as possible when it comes to putting that X on paper next month. There are so many more considerations to take outside of our EU position, with housing being a huge element of that. As our population continues to soar on a borough basis year-on-year, both concerns with homeownership and also the private rental sector need to be met by whoever finds themselves in Downing Street on Friday 13th December.
As always I’d love to know your thoughts, and if you have any concerns with regards to investing in Tameside based on the current political climate, give me a call on 07709 505442 and allow me to demonstrate the effective returns Tameside’s property market can have for you.