General Election 2024: housing policy round up

The property industry urgently needs a clear strategy and strong, consistent leadership from the next UK Government. As the nation prepares to go to the polls on Thursday 4 July Propertymark has examined the manifesto promises on housing from major parties to see what is on offer to voters who care about the future of our sector.

Scaffolding on houses being built


For property owners still waiting for a ground rent reduction, the Conservatives have committed to a £250 cap and the Liberal Democrats would limit it to a ‘nominal fee’. The Liberal Democrats are the only party making a manifesto pledge to abolish all residential leaseholds.

Renters reform and Section 21

The Conservative Party proposes to resurrect the Renters (Reform) Bill, and abolish Section 21. Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and the Green Party have echoed their commitment to this too. The Greens and Plaid Cymru also explicitly support introducing rent controls, and the Liberal Democrats want to make three-year tenancies the norm. 

Reform, on the other hand, confirmed they would drop renters reform entirely and abolish Section 24 of the Finance Act to allow landlords to claim 100% of their mortgage interest when filing their tax returns.

Propertymark has campaigned to ensure plans to reform the private rented sector are fit for purpose and will work in practice. We have also consistently pushed for the repeal of Section 24 in our representations to HM Treasury.  Following our engagement with senior officials and Ministers in the previous government  we will continue to represent our views and interests of our members with the next UK Government.

New build housing estate from a distance
26 Feb 2024
Fundamental interventions needed to correct housebuilding


Several parties commit to delivering new homes, but there are differences in the details. The Conservative Party claim it will deliver 1.6 million homes in England over the next parliament and promises a dedicated task force within Homes England to push forward rural regeneration.

Labour has committed to 1.5 million new homes across the UK, prioritising social rented homes and affordable housing. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats propose an annual target of 380,000 new homes, just under half of which would be for social rent, delivered through garden cities and community-led developments. No other party has put forward the number of homes they will build, but the Green Party has stated that they would require all newly built homes to have solar panels and heat pumps.

Propertymark welcomes any commitment to increasing the number of homes, of all tenures, across the UK after decades of growing imbalance between supply and demand. According to recent research from centreforcities, Britain has a deficit of 4.3 million homes compared to the average European country, and clearing this backlog would represent a 15% increase in the total number of homes in the UK. 

Cranes building a high-rise block
08 Apr 2024
Brownfield planning policy must promote quality homes


Green Party proposals on planning reform focus on setting high environmental standards and embedding energy efficiency, with proposals like mandatory whole-life carbon and energy calculations for all applications and a requirement that new developments ensure residents are not car dependent.

The Labour Party emphasises making grey belt and brownfield land available for development, accompanied by £20 million funding to employ 300 more planning officers. They’d also update the National Planning Policy Framework ‘immediately’ and introduce ‘Golden Rules’ to ensure that both communities and nature benefit from new developments.

Priorities for the Conservatives include a second attempt to abolish EU nutrient neutrality rules, which they state will unlock 100,000 new homes (they first proposed this in 2023, but blocked by the House of Lords). The towns long-term will be expanded to provide £20 million in regeneration funds to nine more towns in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. They have also maintained their commitment to protect the Green Belt whilst delivering a ‘record’ number of homes each year on brownfield land in urban areas.

Support for homebuyers

There are offers to first-time buyers from the two major parties, with Labour proposing a permanent mortgage guarantee scheme, and the Conservatives abolishing stamp duty on homes up to £425,000 and offering equity loans of up to 20% on new build properties.

It is encouraging to see house-building targets taken seriously, especially with the realisation that more social homes are required so that people have access to a greater range of housing.

The planning process can be a huge obstacle in keeping pace with demand, and change is desperately needed to serve a growing population. Many buyers have had a tough time since the 2008 recession, and any future strategy must include a sustainable mix of affordable housing options for both buyers and renters.

Any renewed ambition to pick back up on the Renters (Reform) Bill must come with full disclosure and a workable timeline regarding vital court reform before aspects such as Section 21 evictions can sensibly be abolished.

Ultimately, we need a fully robust supply of new sustainable housing that keeps pace with an ever-growing demand.

Nathan Emerson
Nathan Emerson CEO | Propertymark