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Letter: Developers Want More Land Released to Increase its Value

Published on: 8 Jun, 2023
Updated on: 8 Jun, 2023

From: Niels Laub

Following up from: Local Plan Review Must Reassess Population Predictions and Housing Targets

On Wednesday, The Times reported that house building contracted last month at the fastest pace since the first Covid lockdown three years ago largely due to a combination of soaring mortgage rates and the cost-of-living crunch according to the latest construction industry’s purchasing manager’s index from the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply.

On Thursday, the same newspaper reported the first annual drop in property prices in over a decade according to the Halifax mainly due to rapidly rising mortgage rates and the cost-of-living crunch.

This tells you that the supply and the cost of housing is directly linked to ability of people to buy houses and not to the supply of development land.

You can release as much land as you like for development but, unless people can afford to buy property and the property market is buoyant, developers will simply regulate the supply of housing accordingly.

Relying on the private sector to increase housing supply by offering them more land is a bit like asking Jaguar Land Rover to increase the supply of Range Rovers to make them more affordable. That simply isn’t going to happen.

Developers will always say that the problem is lack of land for development and argue for the release of more land from the green belt because releasing land from the green belt for development in Surrey increases its value by a massive one hundred-fold from about £10,000 per acre to about £1 million per acre (and that’s a conservative estimate) which is very nice for the developers who own the land.

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Responses to Letter: Developers Want More Land Released to Increase its Value

  1. David Roberts Reply

    June 9, 2023 at 4:57 pm

    Mr Laub is right. It’s amazing how many local people, including Labour’s recently elected Cllr Smith, repeatedly claim that building more houses will make them more affordable.

    There are many factors militating against this, including interest rates, overseas investment, empty homes, induced demand from London, uneven economic development across the country, government policies that boost demand artificially and supply rationing by housebuilders in the form of unused planning permissions and land-banking.

    Local building should aim to match local need. In Guildford’s case, this has been established that this is only about two-thirds of the target cemented into the Tories flawed 2019 Local Plan.

  2. Gina Redpath Reply

    June 9, 2023 at 6:43 pm

    When land is taken out of the green belt I think there really ought to be a set period of time by which shovels are in the ground, building the homes that are needed. Failing to meet that target the land should be returned to the green belt and alternative land released.

    The unpopular 2019 Tory Local Plan took a great deal of land out of the green belt which has turned their wealthy Tory landowner friends and supporters into billionaires who are unlikely to want housing estates, blocks of flats and social housing on their land.

    It certainly is a tricky one.

    Gina Redpathy was a R4GV candidate for Pirbright & Normandy in the recent GBC election.

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