“Buy-to-let skewed housing market”, MP claims

“Buy-to-let skewed housing market”, MP claims

The buy-to-let market has come under fire from a former aide to George Osborne and Member of Parliament for Harborough, Neil O’Brien.

The MP has produced a report on behalf of a Conservative thinktank, Onward, which makes the claim that private landlords are responsible for putting home ownership beyond the reach of at least 2 million families in Britain. The study also reveals that the UK has only built half the amount of new homes that France has over the same period of time.

Mr O’Brien’s study makes a number of proposals to tackle the disparity in the housing market, which include direct intervention by the Government and allowing London councils to limit ownership by overseas investors.

Speaking about the thinktank’s report, Mr O’Brien said: “We need to change the balance between the rented sector and home ownership. We should protect existing landlords but discourage more people from investing in rental property, because the buy-to-let boom has bid up prices and reduced homeownership among younger people.”

The report also acknowledges the link between rising house prices and the shortage of supply, offering ideas on how to increase the amount of homes being built.

As an alternative to the piecemeal approach to property development, the report recommends endowing councils with the power to “put together land and create new settlements with services”. It points to rest of Europe, where the majority of local authorities are able to show leadership when it comes to new developments, initiating and shaping them and linking them to public transport.

The director of Onward, Will Tanner, said: “If the government wants to regain the support of young people … it must be unflinching in its pursuit of greater home ownership. That means hard choices like ending tax breaks for new landlords and giving councils much stronger powers.”