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Green belt policy ‘should be reappraised’ to solve the housing crisis

There is a well documented housing crisis in England, especially in the south of the country where property prices are at or near record highs, mainly because there is a severe lack of homes on the housing market, but this trend could be reversed if housebuilders were permitted to build significantly more new homes on the green belt, according to the National Association of Estate Agents.

The housing market may have ended 2016 on a positive note, according to the latest report from the NAEA, with the prospective number of buyers registered with the average agency branch increasing by 12% to 386 in December. But with the average estate agency branch having just 41 properties on its books, the supply of housing on the market remains low, which in turn is driving up house prices across parts of the UK.

Mark Hayward, managing Director, NAEA, said: “We are not advocating building on ancient woodland; however, we do believe the green belt policy should be reappraised. Let’s not allow objections to building on the green belt help further deteriorate the housing crisis.”

Hayward pointed out that just 32,000 affordable homes were built in 2016, which he insists is “totally unacceptable”, especially given the number of homes desperately required in this country.

He added: “We’ve had years of empty promises now and this has exacerbated the problem resulting in the price of properties being out of reach for so many.

“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 for first-time buyers.” 

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