Rethink urged on housing policy

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ESPC has called on the Scottish government to shake up current housing policy in order to stimulate sales of existing homes if it hopes to rejuvenate the housing market.

In written evidence submitted to the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee’s review of the government’s 2013-14 draft budget, the property marketing service called for a “radical rethink” of existing initiatives that largely incentivise the purchase of new builds at the expense of existing homes.

Urging the government to take “bold steps” to unleash pent-up demand in the housing market, ESPC drew attention to the benefits of a strong existing home market, which accounts for 80 per cent of total home sales, including greater confidence for homebuilders, increased labour mobility and providing a firm foundation for economic growth through greater household wealth.

Malcolm Cannon, CEO at ESPC said: “ESPC holds extensive data which shows that there is a strong desire among Scottish households to own a home. A robust housing market is of crucial importance to Scotland’s economic future and the Scottish government must introduce policies that have the potential to turn this demand into a thriving sector and drive property sales.

“Initiatives such as shared equity and mortgage indemnity schemes are important tools in getting the market moving again. However, the current policy emphasis is weighted too heavily in favour of new builds over existing homes, despite existing homes making up the greatest share of the housing market.

“If we truly want to breathe new life into the market, we are going to need policies that provide the right assistance to all households looking to move, regardless of the type of home they wish to purchase. To achieve that, the government needs to introduce new ways to extend the benefits of home ownership to as many households as possible.”