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Minister offers insights into future housing needs

Housing minister Mark Prisk has delivered a number of key insights into what he thinks will be the main issues impacting the UK's housing sector in the coming years and the best methods for tackling these problems.

He made his comments in a speech given to members of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors at the organisation's national residential conference this week (July 16th).

Mr Prisk stated a number of issues surrounding tackling the ongoing housing crisis that is being witnessed across many parts of the country at present and not least of which is speeding up the pace of development, from planning through to construction, to eventual habitation.

As a result, the coalition is introducing a raft of new planning changes that will aim to streamline the whole process for projects to get underway faster.

Access to available land is also a burning issue at present, but Mr Prisk noted simplification of the legal framework for the opening up of more government-owned space is currently progressing well, while builders are increasingly being encouraged to look at large-scale projects to deliver the best results both for the nation's property buyers and public purse.

He said: "A good example is Cranbrook, near Exeter. It's the first new settlement of its kind to be built in Devon for 600 years.

"We have provided a £20 million recoverable loan which means the whole development can proceed - the homes along with the schools, the town centre, the shops and the workplaces."

Moreover, Mr Prisk highlighted the issue of increasing activity in the marketplace for buyers, helping to spur recovery in the UK housing sector through the recently launched Help to Buy scheme.

It enables prospective purchasers to significantly reduce the level of deposit required to get a foot on the property ladder or to move by offering loans of up to 20 per cent for the value of property. The scheme was previously only available for newly-built homes, but this is all about to change as the initiative is rolled out to the whole of the UK home buying sector over the coming months. 

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