Life & Culture

Election prospects cast no shadow

What can the market expect, after May 7?


As the election campaigns hot up, the property market should be cooling down. But with all the party leaders showing warmth towards property development, the real estate industry has plenty to look forward to.

David Cameron accompanied Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East, on a visit to Aura, a new housing scheme by Weston Homes. The Conservatives' housing plan for London sets a target of 400,000 new homes by 2025. Edgware and its surroundings would be one of 20 key regeneration zones.

Mr Cameron also spoke to the Weston Homes directors about the Government's Help to Buy initiative, tax relief for first-time buyers and the regeneration of brownfield land sites. Aura is itself built on derelict brownfield land. So far more than half the purchasers, at prices from £240,000, have been first-time buyers, of which 21 per cent used Help to Buy. Around 12 per cent of Aura is set aside for a housing association.

Under Labour's plans, savings from Help to Buy ISAs would be funnelled into housing for first-time buyers. The £5 billion Future Homes Fund would build 125,000 homes. Last month's budget announced a new Help to Buy ISA, offering an extra £50 from the government for every £200 saved by first-time buyers, up to £3,000. Under Labour, all banks or building societies offering the ISAs would have to invest it in housing. Labour would extend government guarantees if banks put this money into the Future Homes Fund. It would also slap down Mr Cameron's plans to extend the Right to Buy to 1.3 million housing association tenants.

The Liberal Democrats have unveiled a plan to build 300,000 new homes a year, with at least 10 garden cities.

Ukip would axe plans for an HS2 rail link and offer incentives to build on brownfield land, exempting the first £250,000 of new homes on such land from stamp duty.

The candidates for Harrow East are:
Nana Asante (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition)
Ross Barlow (Liberal Democrats)
Bob Blackman(Conservative Party)
Uma Kumaran (Labour Party)
Aidan Powlesland (Ukip)
Emma Wallace (Green Party)

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