Ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections in May 2021, Propertymark has written a manifesto outlining actions the government should take to improve the housing sector which can play a key role in the economic and social recovery after the pandemic.
Propertymark is calling on the next government to:
- Support the regulation of estate agents and ensure that the recommendations of the Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) Working Group are well understood by the industry so that bad practices can be eliminated and consumer experience improved;
- Review Land and Building Transaction Tax (LBTT) bands to support home buying and in particular those in the middle and high end of the market by extending the 5% levy to properties worth up to £500,000 and halving the tax currently paid by buyers in this price range;
- Oppose further rent controls beyond those already introduced under the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 in December 2017;
- Take action on cladding and fire safety in multi-storey residential buildings by utilising the £97.149m Building Safety Fund as allocated in the UK Budget of March 2020;
- Take a holistic approach to improving the energy efficiency of housing and provide solutions that take into account age, condition and size of properties;
- Bring empty properties back into use by developing greater incentives for owners and supporting local authorities in providing dedicated resources to tackle the issue.
Investment in housing
An important part of the Propertymark manifesto also concentrates on investment needed in the housing sector for all tenures. Propertymark believes that the next government should:
- Commit to building more social housing to ensure more affordability and security of renting;
- Reduce the 4% surcharge on additional residential property to boost further investment in the private rented sector;
- Build more retirement housing and introduce incentives to downsize as part of catering for increasing demographic of people aged 65;
- Offer financial support to landlords and owner occupiers for home improvements in order to increase the energy efficiency of their homes;
- Reintroduce the Help to Buy Affordable New Build scheme to help first time buyers and people looking to move up the property ladder.
Daryl Mcintosh, Strategic Development Manager for Scotland, said: “The next Government have one of the most important mandates in recent years regarding the future of Scotland’s housing sector. There must be a focus on increasing supply of the right homes and raising the quality of new homes.
“The housing sector has felt the impact of Covid-19 and the policies and investment strategy of the next Government are important to stimulate the market and the economy whilst looking to the long-term vision of meeting the housing needs for the people of Scotland.”