To say it has been an eventful few months for political news in the UK would be a huge understatement. In the space of a month we voted to leave the EU, said goodbye to the former Prime Minister David Cameron and sworn in his replacement, Theresa May, and seen a brand new government selected to run the country, including the newly appointed Housing Minister.
Now, as the dust appears to be settling and our new Prime Minster has begun work, we can review some of the changes that might arise from these recent events.
Theresa May has now selected her own Cabinet of Ministers, the men and women charged with looking after the UK’s various areas of interest.
New Housing Minister
Along with many other politicians now facing new roles and a difficult few years – with negotiations for Brexit and maintaining stability in the UK both high on the agenda – Gavin Barwell has been charged with the role of Theresa May’s new Housing Minister. Mr Barwell will, from now on, be in charge of the housing market.
On the face of it, Mr Barwell has his work cut out for him going forwards. He has inherited the task of fulfilling a promise the government has made to build 200,000 homes a year until 2020. To put this into perspective, only around 150,000 new homes were built last year.
The Housing Market Today
As Residential Property Solicitors we have discussed, in some of our previous articles, how the demand for homes is extremely high at the moment, despite the uncertainty over Brexit.
So, with the housing demand high and the supply of new homes lower than required, Mr Barwell is facing a tough job in meeting the promises of his predecessors. The supply of affordable homes is sure to be high on his to-do-list, but as we can see, there is a lot still to be done.
Land Registry Debate
Amongst other things, Mr Barwell also needs to lend fresh eyes to another major housing issue; this one potentially being more controversial. The topic for debate here is the proposal to privatise the Land Registry previously made by the government.
This proposal has been widely publicised and has been met with widespread criticism by many professional conveyancing bodies.
The general consensus is that privatising the Land Registry could lead to a rise in fees in order to generate profits for the private owners – a cost that would ultimately be met by property purchasers. Other areas of concern are that a private Land Registry might get in the way of current plans to combat money laundering through the property market, along with the natural concern that comes with creating a privatised monopoly, and how this might lead to anti-competitive business practices.
The previous government had said that they would not look to make any final decisions on this hotly-debated issue until the new administration is settled. With Mr Barwell’s appointment, the new government has the opportunity now to reassess old proposals and reconsider their position.
Only time will tell if Mr Barwell can meet the tough requirements the housing situation has placed upon our Housing Minister, but in the meantime, for all of your property enquiries please do not hesitate to call the Residential Property Department at BHW Solicitors Leicester on 0116 289 7000.