MPs told of build-to-let ‘solution’ to housing crisis

Source: Inside Housing

Ian Fletcher, director of policy at the British Property Federation told the Communities and Local Government select committee that institutional investors are already interested in housing and coupled with today’s political support and increased demand for rental properties, they could help meet the UK’s housing need.

The committee, which is currently hearing evidence on financing new housing supply, heard investment from pension funds and releasing public sector land could help kickstart more housebuilding.

Mr Fletcher told the committee: ‘While many of the conditions are already in place, such as rental demand and now political support, the government face the challenge of firstly finding sufficient scale of opportunity, and also trying to encourage institutions which are unfamiliar with the housing sector to invest.’

‘The vast majority of public land is held by local authorities, and there needs to be greater clarity on its release. Negotiating often complex and long-term deals with local authorities can be difficult, and perhaps the HCA could be introduced as an honest broker in tricky negotiations.’

He also suggested that real estate investment trusts could encourage investors.

‘[REITs would] provide an obvious entrance into the market and an exit strategy, but officials are being a bit over cautious, particularly around issues such as the ability of a REIT to trade. Further discussions are required with the Treasury,’ he said.

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