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Housing 'to continue as a political football'

Housing will be a dominant topic in the build-up to next year's general election.This is according to Jeremy Blackburn, head of UK housing policy at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), who has discussed the issue in light of a new report from the organisation. "The political ambition to meet the UK's housing deficit of 240,000 means that debates around planning, development and delivery will monopolise the pre-election period in the run-up to May 2015," he stated."We've seen four housing ministers in this parliament and there is no reason to think that housing won’t continue to be a political football in the next," Mr Blackburn added.The expert called on the government to provide "certainty, clarity and confidence" that the new homes that are badly needed in the UK will be built. Mr Blackburn's comments are interesting, as recent research from The Economist and Ipsos MORI found housing is not currently seen as a top-ten issue among the British public.According to RICS' research, house prices are set to undergo a modest rise of two per cent in the new year. The south-west, Wales and London are expected to see the least growth, with rises of two per cent, two per cent and zero per cent predicted respectively.However, it should be noted that parts of the capital are still forecast to experience "buoyant" conditions, particularly some eastern boroughs and certain non-prime areas.RICS predicted there will be continued growth in housing sales transactions in the new year. It expects 1.25 million deals will take place in 2015, which would be up from the 1.22 million recorded 12 months earlier. The organisation pointed to stamp duty reform and the stronger economy as the main reasons driving this change.In terms of the rental market, it has forecast a two per cent average rise in rents across the country. RICS highlighted the continued imbalance between demand and supply as the major factor behind this prediction. 

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