79% of developers think housing targets are unachievable
Despite showing support for elements of the housing white paper, property developers are sceptical of the government’s target to build one million homes by 2020 with just one in five (21%) believing this target to be realistic. Releasing more publicly owned brownfield land for development is the biggest opportunity arising from the Housing White Paper, according to new research by Amicus Property Finance. Over two-thirds (69%) of developers think increasing the availability of brownfield sites will offer the most potential for developers. The proposed reduction in the time permitted by local authorities to approve planning applications from three to two years (49%), continuation of the Help to Buy scheme (45%) and increasing the focus on building homes in the affordable sector (41%) were the second, third and fourth most popular measures respectively. Amicus’ research revealed a number of additional policies property developers would like to see the government introducing in order to address the housing crisis: more than three-quarters (78%) called for a repeal of the stamp duty rises and tax relief reductions on landlords; more than two in five (44%) would like to see incentives for elderly people to downsize and free up family homes; four in ten (41%) think stamp duty should become a seller’s tax rather than a buyer’s tax and 37% recommended a suspension in capital gains tax to encourage more land to come to the market. Keith Aldridge, Founder & Managing Director at Amicus Property Finance, said, “Property developers appear highly supportive of a number of the ideas in the white paper, particularly releasing more brownfield land to the market and the greater focus on affordable housing.  The existing ‘Help to Buy’ initiative has also been well received by many developers and we have already financed a number of successful developments in the south east.” “Though large scale government investment plays a part in stimulating supply, developers see the current tax laws as one of the biggest obstacles to solving the housing crisis, particularly repealing the recent stamp duty increases for landlords.”
Where do you see the biggest opportunities for property developers and investors in the housing white paper? (%)  
Continuation of the Help to Buy scheme   71%
Continuation of the Lifetime ISA for first time buyers   51%
Increased focus on building homes in the affordable rental sector   47%
Reduce the time local authorities have to approve planning applications from three years to two   24%
Expectation for developers to produce higher density housing plans where land is in high demand   10%
Financial incentive to enable local authorities to increase the size of their planning departments   10%
£3 billion to help smaller builders challenge the large developers   10%
Release of more publicly owned brownfield land for development   4%
Source: Amicus Property Finance (March 2017)

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