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Pellings Host Pre-Election Seminar for Housing Professionals

Pellings recently held its latest seminar on the topic of "Party Political Promises to the Property Industry: Do they stack up?" at the Cavendish Conference Centre in London. Award winning journalist, Chris Blackhurst, former City Editor for the Evening Standard and Head of Business Editorial for the Independent titles, led an engaging discussion with over 200 housing professionals interrogating the main political parties' manifestos.

The purpose of the seminar was to shed light on the potential implications of the upcoming General Election on the property industry. With the majority of those in attendance working in social housing, the feasibility of initiatives such as Right to Buy, and the vastly differing numbers behind the parties' targets for new homes were key topics of discussion. The lack of consultation with Registered Providers and Local Authorities on Right to Buy was a significant issue for those in attendance. One Housing Association representative spoke passionately about their concerns regarding the implications of this Conservative promise, warning the result will be, "a slowing down of funding, as there will be some nervousness of funders of Housing Associations as their asset base is essentially going to be wiped out. We have only just got to a point where funding is now flowing again, and this could take us back", they said.

A number of polls were taken throughout the evening, one of which asked the question "When will the London price bubble burst?" giving four possible answers: 2016, 2017, Later and Never. A resounding majority (41%) of the audience went for Later, demonstrating the uncertainty as to the extent of the price bubble. Results from all of the polls taken at the seminar are available to view here. Other key topics discussed included building on the green belt, stamp duty, compulsory purchases and the freezing of land prices — a model widely used in Germany when a local municipality specifies an area for residential construction.

Chris ended the evening expressing concern over the uncertainty that the election will bring to the industry. He shared his belief that all of the main political parties have identified property, and more specifically housing, as a major issue, which is illustrated by the fact that the topic has played a bigger role than the NHS and education in the run up to the election. However, he was uneasy about the fact that nobody seems to know how to come up with a solution, "it appears that the numbers of proposed new housing don't stack up, and it is hard to see how all of the new properties are going to be built, who is going to pay for them and who will be moving into them", he said.

The seminar which forms part of Pellings' bi-annual thought leadership programme was attended by over 200 housing professionals. For more information on this seminar, contact Caroline Thomson on cthomson@pellings.co.uk

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