Andy Frankish, new homes director at Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), comments:
“A Labour pledge to redouble house-building efforts would be welcome news, but there are key questions to answer about affordability and workability. Help to Buy equity loans have made newly built properties affordable to thousands of people at very competitive rates, with the majority of applications coming from first time buyers outside of London. Does Labour intend for this support to continue until 2020?
“Despite Ed Balls’ claims on the contrary, many builders are already committed to increase their output and there are no cheats or shortcuts to restarting growth after a recession. It takes time to increase the supply of material and labour to meet demand, as well as negotiating planning permission. If I was a builder and was expected to commit to building more homes, I would be very nervous about Labour’s wavering position on Help to Buy: a product which has already stimulated house building and captured the public imagination.
“When it comes to ‘basic economics’, politicians have to remember the recent increase in housing demand has only been possible thanks to growing confidence in the market. There is a real danger this confidence will be taken away by political point-scoring about a product that is without question good for the customer.”