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News: UK launches biggest home ownership review in over a decade

Mon, 08 Feb 16

The UK has launched its biggest review of home ownership in over a decade.

Pete Redfern, the Chief Executive of Taylor Wimpey, and John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Minister for Housing and Planning, launched the independent review (the Redfern Review) last week. The review, which was commissioned by Mr. Healey, aims to investigate the decline in home ownership, which is now at its lowest level for almost three decades.

The Redfern Review will draw together a panel of advisers from housing and economics, including Terrie Alafat CBE - Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Housing - Dame Kate Barker - former Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member - Andy Gray - former Managing Director of Mortgages at Barclays - and Ian Mulheirn - Director of Consulting at Oxford Economics.

"I have an ambition for a healthy and sustainable housing market that will give current and future generations the opportunity to own their own home," comments Redfern. "The continued structural decline in home ownership presents a long-term social and economic challenge and necessitates a considered review. This is not about party politics, it affects us all."

It arrives as the UK government races to build more homes and, as a result, address the imbalance in supply and demand that has led to rising prices and a growing population of renters. Meanwhile, schemes such as Help to Buy have helped to boost first-time buyer activity, according to Your Move and Reeds Rains.

The number of buyers taking their first step onto the ladder in December 2015 stood at 26,600 – a fall of 4.7 per cent on the previous month of November, when the figure totalled 27,900. Nonetheless, over the course of 2015, activity has grown steadily, with volumes up by 1.1 per cent – or 300 more first-time buyers per month – between December 2014 and December 2015.

"An examination of the year-on-year figures reveals a property market that – festive slowdown aside – is going from strength to strength. Steady growth over the course of the year indicates a resurgence in first-time buyer confidence. First-time buyers have been buoyed by a positive economic climate and a range of Government incentives – such as the reduction of Stamp Duty on lower-priced properties – designed to lessen at least the immediate costs of home ownership," comments Adrian Gill, director of estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains.

The review’s findings will be reported this summer.

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