General Election: The 2017 Housing Manifesto Of The 3 Major Parties

General Election: The 2017 Housing Manifesto Of The 3 Major Parties

So, the General Election is looming. On 8th June, we face the decision of whether to carry on along the path of ‘strong and stable leadership’ promised by the Tories, or gamble on the prospect of the unknown – a Labour candidate who looks nothing like the party face we’ve been used to over the last two decades. Then there’s the Lib Dems, UKIP, or the Greens: of which there is much less to say.

But for investors in The House Crowd, the principal focus will be the housing policy offered by each of the major political parties. So, just to save you trawling through the party manifestos, we’ve done the dirty work for you. Here’s what you need to know about the 2017 housing manifesto for the Conservatives, Labour, and Lib Dems. Just an FYI – at time of writing, the Greens and UKIP are still yet to publish their manifestos.

Conservative Party 2017 Housing Manifesto 

The ‘Homes For All’ section of the Tory manifesto begins with a comment that states the blinking obvious: ‘We have not built enough homes in this country for generations, and buying or renting a home has become increasingly unaffordable’. So how do they plan to fix it?

The key, they state, is to build enough homes to meet demand. Again, pretty obvious. They identify that the effect of this would be to slow the rise in housing costs, allowing more ‘ordinary, working families’ to buy a home and also to bring down the cost of renting. Crucially, for investors, this will ensure that more private capital is invested in more productive investment, thus hastening economic growth in a secure way for the future.

The Tory manifesto pledges the delivery of one million homes by the end of 2020, with half a million more by 2022. They promise to deliver on the reforms from their Housing White Paper, freeing up more land for new builds in the ‘right places’, encouraging modern methods of construction, and by giving councils the power to intervene where developers do not act on their planning permissions. The Tories will also diversify who builds homes in the UK.

The plan also includes the building of better homes, supporting ‘high-quality, high-density’ mansion blocks, mews houses and terraced streets. And all this whilst retaining the strong protections that currently exist over designated Green Belt, National Parks, and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty. Thus, the government must build 160,000 houses on its own land, and rebalancing housing growth across the country – not limiting it to the south-east.

Housing for older people is also a priority, so the Tories plan to help housing associations increase their specialist housing stock.

The manifesto identifies councils as being to blame for the failure to build sustainable, integrated communities, fingering them as the ‘worst offenders’ and accusing them of building ‘for political gain rather than for social purpose’. The Tories plan to enter into new Council Housing Deal with ambitious, pro-development local authorities to assist them with building more social housing. ‘We will work with them,’ they say. ‘To improve their capability and capacity to develop more good homes, as well as providing them with significant low-cost capital funding’. As a result, they plan to build new, fixed-term social houses, which will ‘be sold privately after ten to fifteen years with an automatic Right to Buy for tenants’, the proceeds of which will be recycled into further homes. Compulsory Purchase Orders will be reformed, reducing cost and difficulty for councils to use, making it easier to determine sites’ true market value.

Finally, the Conservative 2017 housing manifesto pledges to work with private and public sector house builders to capture the increase in land value created when they build to reinvest in local infrastructure, essential services and further housing, making it more certain that public sector landowners benefit from the increase in land value expected from urban regeneration and development.

Labour Party 2017 Housing Manifesto

Labour have titled the 2017 Housing manifesto section of their election manifesto ‘Secure Homes for All’. It also begins by outlining the housing crisis, and pointing the finger at the Tories for failing to fix the housing crisis in the last seven years, stating that ‘Since 2010, housebuilding has fallen to its lowest level since the 1920s… rents have risen faster than incomes, there are almost 200,000 fewer homeowners, and new affordable housebuilding is at a 24-year low’.

Labour’s solution? Investing in building over a million new homes – 100,000 council and housing association homes a year by the end of the next Parliament.

Their plan for a new Department of Housing is ostensibly to ‘ensure housing is about homes for the many, not investment opportunities for the few’. We wonder whether they know about the democratising power of property crowdfunding in this area… and whether they plan to invest in the innovative finance model for real estate at all.

Whilst the Tories accuse local councils of building ‘for political gain rather than for social purpose’, Labour plans to give councils new powers to build homes. They plan to begin the biggest council building program for at least 30 years, ditching the Tories’ ban on long-term council tenancies so that council tenants can have a ‘secure tenancy in a home built to high standards’. The ‘right-to-buy’ policy would be suspended in order to protect affordable housing for local people, unless councils can prove they have a plan to replace homes sold like-for-like.

To avoid urban sprawl, Labour promises to start work on a new generation of ‘New Towns’ to build the homes needed, prioritising building on brownfield sites and – like the Tories – protecting Green Belt land.

The priority, of course, for Labour, is to build new council funds through their National Transformation Fund, which – they say – will ensure a ‘vibrant construction sector with a skilled workforce and rights at work’.

Along with all those council houses, Labour will also build thousands of low-cost homes specifically reserved for first-time buyers, giving local people buying their first home ‘first dibs’ on new homes built in their area. Labour councils across the country, they say, have already been building an average of nearly 1,000 more new homes than Conservative councils.

Just as the Tories do, Labour pledges to ‘not only build more, [but to] build better’. More homes will be insulated, and new modern standards for building ‘zero carbon homes’ will be implemented. Equally, the party plans to consult on new rules on minimum space standards, and introduce new minimum standards to ensure properties are ‘fit for human habitation’ and ‘empowering tenants to take action if their rented homes are substandard’. Like the Tories, Labour also identifies the need for older people’s housing, ‘ensuring that local plans’ address this need. There’s also their predictable promise to ‘reverse the cruel decision’ to abolish housing benefit for 18-21 year olds, a controversial move by the Tories that has had many up in arms.

Controls on rent rises, more secure tenancies, landlord licensing and new consumer rights for renters are all promised. They also promise an inflation cap on rent rises, and to make three-year tenancies the norm. They equally state that they’ll legislate to ban letting agent fees for tenants – which seems a slightly odd statement considering this is already in the pipeline.

Liberal Democrat Party 2017 Housing Manifesto

In the same vein as the two major political parties, the Lib Dems, too, begin their 2017 Housing manifesto section with the (not-so) news that the ‘housing crisis in Britain has become an emergency’. Their figures for increasing the rate of housebuilding are to double the current level to 300,000 new homes a year.

Rather kindly, the Lib Dems have broken their housing pledge down into bullet points, which makes it rather easier to share verbatim:

We will:

  • Directly build homes to fill the gap left by the market, to reach our housebuilding target of 300,000 homes a year, through a government commissioning programme to build homes for sale and rent. We will ensure that half a million affordable, energy-efficient homes are built by the end of the parliament.
  • Create at least 10 new garden cities in England, providing tens of thousands of high-quality, zero-carbon homes, with gardens and shared green space, jobs, schools and public transport.
  • Set up a new government-backed British Housing and Infrastructure Development Bank with a remit including providing long-term capital for major new settlements and helping attract finance for major housebuilding projects.
  • End the Voluntary Right to Buy pilots that sell off housing association homes and the associated high value asset levy.
  • Lift the borrowing cap on local authorities and increase the borrowing capacity of housing associations so that they can build council and social housing.
  • Scrap exemptions on smaller housing development schemes from their obligation to provide affordable homes, and strengthen the hand of local government to prevent large developers reneging on their commitments.
  • Require local plans to take into account at least 15 years of future housing need – focusing on long-term development and community needs.
  • Create a community right of appeal in cases where planning decisions go against the approved local plan.
  • Enable local authorities to: – Levy up to 200% council tax on second homes and ‘buy to leave empty’ investments from overseas. – Enforce housebuilding on unwanted public sector land. – Penalise excessive land-banking when builders with planning permission have failed to build after three years. – End the Right to Buy if they choose.
  • Help people who cannot afford a deposit by introducing a new Rent to Own model where rent payments give tenants an increasing stake in the property, owning it outright after 30 years.
  • Improve renting by banning lettings fees for tenants, capping upfront deposits and increasing minimum standards in rented homes.
  • Help young people into the rental market by establishing a new Help to Rent scheme to provide government-backed tenancy deposit loans for all first-time 62 Support Families and Communities 6 renters under 30.
  • Give British buyers a fair chance by stopping developers advertising homes abroad before they have been advertised in the UK.
  • Give tenants first refusal to buy the home they are renting from a landlord who decides to sell during the tenancy at the market rate according to an independent valuation.
  • Promote longer tenancies of three years or more with an inflation-linked annual rent increase built in, to give tenants security and limit rent hikes.
  • Improve protections against rogue landlords through mandatory licensing and allow access for tenants to the database of rogue landlords and property agents.
  • End the scandal of rough sleeping by increasing support for homelessness prevention and adequately funding age-appropriate emergency accommodation and supported housing, while ensuring that all local authorities have at least one provider of the Housing First model of provision for long-term, entrenched homeless people.

So that’s the top three parties covered. Clearly, there’s plenty to consider; lots of contrasts, but equally lots of crossover between opposing parties. Who’s getting your vote on 8th June? Actually, don’t answer that – no one wants to deal with another war in the Comments section on Facebook… there’s too many of those out there already.

FSA gives green light to online crowdfunding platform

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has for the first time approved a crowdfunding website facilitating direct investment in small businesses. It means investors using the website, Crowdcube, will now be able to claim compensation from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and access the Financial Ombudsman Service if they have a complaint.

The opinion here at The House Crowd is that it’s good to see a regulator starting to approve dynamic forms of financing like crowdfunding. As demonstrated by our unique business model, crowdfunding can provide great returns for all, in a safe, transparent way.

Currently, as The House Crowd doesn’t fall under the definition of either a CIS (Collective Investment Schemes) or OEIC (Open Ended Investment Companies), we do not require the FSA’s authorisation to operate.  However, even though we are not FSA regulated, we do everything we can to ensure that all our dealings are as transparent as possible and that investors are made fully aware of the risks as well as the rewards in any investment. We also ensure your money is protected as far as possible – you never pay money directly to us, all investment monies are paid to a solicitor’s client account and held there until the property is purchased and your shares are issued.

The House Crowd is a brand new concept in property investment which allows people to invest small amounts via crowdfunding (for more information on the process, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//how-it-works/). We are committed to breathing life into empty, rundown properties whilst giving investors great returns on their investments (for more information about us, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//about/our-manifesto/). If you’ve read enough and want to invest now, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//invest-in-property/).

The Perils of Investing In Repossessed Property

The Perils of Investing In Repossessed Property

Our MD, Frazer Fearnhead has just had an article published in the Daily Mail/ This is Money on the Pitfalls Of Investing in Repossessed Property.

It’s never plain sailing when you are trying to buy investment properties at rock bottom prices, as some property investors have already have found out to their considerable cost.

But if you are a prospective purchaser of BMV (Below Market Value) properties such as repossessions, then you will undoubtedly be interested in the sort of nonsense that goes on behind the scenes.

It is, nevertheless, something The House Crowd will continue to take in its stride so we can deliver high yielding investment properties for all our property investors.


Have a read through the article:

The Pitfalls of Buying Repossessed Property


As a quick summary, Frazer goes into some detail about both the pitfalls and opportunities on offer through investing in repossessed property.

Given the state of the economy, he states, there is an abundance of BMV deals available for investors. Whether through estate agents, auctions, or (if you have the resources to buy in large numbers directly) from asset management companies, there is opportunity to be found.

Nonetheless, it always helps to be a cash buyer when it comes to auctions. A lot of properties may be unmortgageable, and in any case, you will have to prove your funds before agents will even consider accepting your offer.

Investing in repossessed properties offers the opportunity to either refurbish and resell, or to rent out as a Buy To Let investment. However, there are a lot of factors that are necessary for you to take into account before you involve yourself in such an investment.

Check out the full article to find out more. Alternatively, you can always get in touch with us directly. We’re always happy to answer any questions or queries you might have, and to set you in the right direction for your property investment journey.

You can also find out more about investing through property crowdfunding by registering with us by clicking the purple button below, or take a look at our current investment opportunities by clicking on the blue button!

Register Now for more Info

View our Property Investments

 

£300m Money Pot to Tackle Plethora of Empty Homes

We were extremely pleased by Communities Minister Don Foster’s announcement earlier in the week, pledging to ensure that some 5,000 empty homes could be refurbished and brought back onto the market as the government battles to end the national housing shortage.

Local councils, housing associations and a range of other organisations including community and voluntary groups are being invited to bid for money from a £300million pot of funds, in order to tackle the number of empty and run down houses in the Greater Manchester area, which could help rejuvenate often blighted local areas.

With a nationwide council house waiting list of over four million people, we think this is a great idea, as it will help tackle the plethora of empty run down properties to be found throughout the UK. Furthermore, it will hopefully help alleviate the vicious cycle where one run down home can bring an area down, which can then spiral into whole communities being affected.

Recent government figures show the number of empty homes is already decreasing, having dropped from 300,000 in 2009 to 259,000 in 2012.

At The House Crowd, we purchase BMV properties which are often unliveable in when we acquire them, and regenerate them into attractive homes before renting them out, providing affordable housing in areas that are often desperately short of housing.  And all of which still delivers an excellent return on investment for our investors.  So we’re providing a community service with the help of our investors, whilst still providing them with a better return on their investment than they would find with any bank.

The House Crowd is a brand new concept in property investment which allows people to invest small amounts via crowdfunding (for more information on the process, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//how-it-works/). We are committed to breathing life into empty, rundown properties whilst giving investors great returns on their investments (for more information about us, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//about/our-manifesto/). If you’ve read enough and want to invest now, visit www.http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd//invest-in-property/).

The Perils of Buying Repossessed Property Part 1

All the property “gurus” (and I’ve really started to despise that word) advocate buying BMV property – “you make your money when you buy the property not when you sell it” as Robert Kiyosaki (the guru’s guru) says.

One of the best ways of doing that is buying repossessed properties at below market value. Given the state of the economy, you can find plenty of these deals through estate agents and auctions and, if you are buying large numbers direct through the asset management companies. It helps enormously if you are a cash buyer and at the very least you need to have funding already in place as the seller will always want to see proof of funds before even considering an offer.

So, in theory at least, buying repossessions (or “corporate sales” as the agents euphemistically now call them) can be a lucrative property investment strategy enabling you to buy at a bargain price, renovate it and sell to the open market at a decent profit or rent it out and obtain a very decent yield.

But you need to be fully prepared for what’s in store. Here are a few examples of the issues we have encountered in the last few months which are (apart from the last one) fairly typical of what you will experience if you start buying repossessions.

Ask Yourself: Is it really a bargain?

Just because it’s a repo (ccmph, sorry… corporate sale) does not automatically mean it is a bargain. Doing your due diligence on the internet/ telephone is one thing to establish previous property sale prices and comparables, but you absolutely must do a site visit to establish whether it is truly a bargain. Repos, by their nature, tend to be in a fairly appalling condition. You need to calculate what you will have to spend to bring the property up to scratch. It may well be that whilst the 2 bed terrace for sale at £35,000 looks like it is a great deal at £15,000 below comparable properties, it may actually need £20k spending on it and there is little margin for profit. Many estate agents won’t tell you that over the phone, even if you ask them, as they like to get as many viewings as possible even if it should be obvious from what you’ve told them that it won’t be suitable for you – I think it gives them something to show their client as evidence they have been doing some work!

A more unusual example (but one that is becoming increasingly common) is Japanese Knotweed. In quick succession, we found two properties that looked like great deals until we realised the gardens were riddled with Japanese Knotweed. This is a notoriously invasive weed, which can cause serious damage to property. It also makes the property un-mortgageable and can be an expensive problem to clear up, taking many months. All of which can of course represent an opportunity, if the buyer will reduce the price accordingly. But many sellers, even in this market, are extremely stubborn and in neither of our cases would they reduce the price, so we had to walk away. Presumably, some unsuspecting person with an incompetent surveyor bought them in the end, as they are no longer on the market.

Tip: You must do a personal viewing and work out your refurb budget allowing a 15-20% contingency before making an offer.

Public Notice

It is the duty of the bank in possession to obtain the highest price possible. They will never agree to take a property off the market. This means even if they accept your offer, you can be gazumped at any time up to exchange of contracts, losing survey fees, structural engineer fees, search fees and legal fees in the process. Quite an expensive business, and if it happens a few times it will eat up a high proportion of any profit you hope to make, especially if you are dealing at the low end of the market. It’s especially galling when the other side has caused the delays and allowed time for a rival purchaser to make an offer.

Whilst being a cash buyer has its advantages, as an investor you are looking to make a profit. There is a ceiling to what you can pay and still retain a realistic chance of achieving this and, as you may well be competing against potential owner occupiers who are not so like minded, and likely to be prepared to pay more, expect to be gazumped – frequently.

Part 2 featuring more of the joyous perils and pitfalls of buying repossessed property will be published next week..

Who To Believe In The Current Political Landscape

Who To Believe In The Current Political Landscape

Political parties are renowned for being worlds apart, and this week was no different. Grant Shapps, the housing minister and his Labour counterpart Jack Dromey, have both announced differing views, poles apart, on the housing sector. So who can we believe in the current political landscape? Hmmm….

As is expected, our current government claims to be seeing a rapid and dramatic increase in the number of affordable homes being built, whilst the party out of power highlights a mounting crisis and a collapse in affordable homes being built. Who do you believe?

At The House Crowd, we don’t rely on manipulated housing statistics, attention-grabbing headlines or whether the market is ‘doom or boom’. As a property investment group, we are focusing on refurbishing empty BMV properties, breathing new life into them and then selling them on, hopefully helping to get some of the currently un-lived in BMV properties back into use again in areas where they are desperately needed.

So why not leave the housing debate to the ministers and put us to the test by getting involved with The House Crowd! After all, the current political landscape is a minefield!

Politics-Proof Property Crowdfunding (whatever the current political landscape!!)

Property crowdfunding is now taking the investment world by storm, following our brave debut onto the scene in 2012. We were the first (and continue to be the best) platform for property crowdfunding.

We are proud to offer better returns on investment than many other investment models, and allow people previously locked out of the property market to benefit from the lucrative world of property investment. What’s more, we’re helping bring much-needed new homes across the Greater Manchester area.

For more information on the process of getting involved with property crowdfunding, visit our Crowdfunding Process page.

We are committed to breathing life into empty, rundown properties whilst giving investors great returns on their investments.

To find out more about getting great returns on investment with The House Crowd, start by getting to know us here.

 

The changing face of property

You don’t need to be a property expert to spot the differences between new build properties and those which have stood firm for decades. With modernity comes change however, but what continues to monopolise the changing face of property is the level of home ownership.

According to research compiled by Lloyds TSB, since reaching a peak of 71% in 2003, owner occupation has been on the decline, while the private rented sector is on the rise.  Worryingly, the proportion of social or council housing stands at just 18%, falling from a peak of 32% in 1981. This may explain why the waiting list for council properties continues to grow throughout the UK.

We think these figures are a travesty! While we know there is high demand for rental properties (just remember those council house waiting lists!), we also know there is demand for quality, affordable housing to purchase. Which is where we come in! As a property investment group which aims, not only to create strong returns for our investors, but to make positive contributions to the communities within which we operate, we are on a campaign to breathe life back into old properties, and by default, the communities which they often blight.

Breathing New Life Into Below Market Value (BMV) Properties

We purchase BMV properties which are often uninhabitable at the point of purchase, and regenerate them into attractive homes before either selling them on, often to those seeking that illusive step onto the property ladder, or rent them out providing affordable housing in areas that are often desperately short of housing.  And all of which still provides an excellent return on investment for our investors – what could be better!

 

The House Crowd is a brand new concept in property investment which allows people to invest small amounts via crowdfunding (for more information on the process, visit http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd/how-it-works/). We are committed to breathing life into empty, rundown properties whilst giving investors great returns on their investments (for more information about us, visit http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd/about/our-manifesto/). If you’ve read enough and want to invest now, visit http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd/invest-in-property/).

Crowdfunding is sweeping the nation!

It appears The House Crowd has started a trend (well we like to think we have!) as there isn’t a week that goes by without the term ‘crowdfunding’ appearing in the media.

This week, it was great to read that Stainless Games, an Isle of Wight-based video games developer, had successfully secured cash on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, to finance a new edition of Carmageddon.

Fans of the controversial game have pledged more than £255,000 to the company, however, unlike at The House Crowd supporters do not receive a share of any profits, but instead are offered a range of scaled incentives to commit more money – including a free copy of the game. We think this method of pooling money together is a great alternative to the traditional model of funding which usually comes via large investors or publishers, as it helps gamers feel involved in the process.

As a property investment group based on the crowdfunding model, we are great supporters of the crowdfunding movement and we hope more and more companies take advantage of the crowdfunding phenomena that is sweeping the nation.  With the banks loathe to lend to businesses and individuals, not to mention the poor returns on savings from them, crowdfunding is going to be seen as the way forward for a number of businesses. So why not hop on the bandwagon and get involved too by joining us!

The House Crowd is a brand new concept in property investment which allows people to invest small amounts via crowdfunding (for more information on the process, visit http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd/how-it-works/). We are committed to breathing life into empty, rundown properties whilst giving investors great returns on their investments (for more information about us, visit http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd/about/our-manifesto/). If you’ve read enough and want to invest now, visit http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd/invest-in-property/).

Did You Hear The House Crowd on Radio 4?

Did you hear us on Radio 4?

This week saw our very own managing director, Frazer Fearnhead take to the microphone and appear live on Monday You and Yours show on BBC Radio 4, discussing the numerous benefits of being a member of The House Crowd.

The interview was a great success and resulted in a great many new sign-ups by new investors, who recognised the great many benefits of the property crowdfunding model after listening to Frazer’s enlightening explanation.

If you didn’t get the opportunity to listen to the interview, then don’t panic, you can check out the link below to listen along at your leisure. Scroll forward 17 minutes, 20 seconds to get to Frazer’s bit:

Listen to Frazer on Radio 4!

We hope you enjoy listening, and if you haven’t already jumped on board The House Crowd bandwagon,  why not join us now?

How To Find Out More

Register with us to find out more about getting involved with property crowdfunding, as a way to generate potentially excellent returns on investment through very little financial outlay:

Register Now for more Info

Find out more about How It Works

We are committed to breathing life into empty, rundown properties whilst giving investors great returns on their investments.

Update: Since this Radio 4 interview first aired in 2012, The House Crowd has gone from strength to strength. We continue to be the leaders in the property crowdfunding space in the UK, and our presence and great reputation is continuing to grow all the time.

Many more platforms emerged after us, and some have gone on to do very well. In fact, the entire property crowdfunding industry has exploded since we took those tentative first steps. It is now an industry worth billions worldwide.

No matter how big the industry grows, however, we are confident that, as well as being the first, we will always be the best.

Is the Government listening?

Okay, we have known for years that not enough new homes are being built. Increased demand and shortage of supply will  inevitably drive the affordability of housing out of the reach of many and create a huge problem. But what about making more use of the housing that we already have as opposed to building new homes?

(http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/may/17/government-failing-homes-built?CMP=twt_gu)

We have a plethora of empty run down properties that have to be considered when we discuss this housing shortage – over 750,000 empty properties last time I read a report on it.  Surely we can look at incentivising further the investing in repossessed properties, bringing them back to life as opposed to just thinking about building expensive new ones.

At The House Crowd, our ethos is to make money for our investors; however,  we are also proud of the fact that we breathe new life into properties that others have left to rot.  Our methodology is a win/win for everyone, we allow people to make great returns from investing in property (from as little as £1,000) and in doing so provide a home that otherwise wouldn’t exist for a tenant or first time buyer.

By the way we are well under way to renovating HCP 003 and have offers accepted on HCP004. House Crowd Project 005 will be launching tomorow

If interested in joining us and making a great profit whilst breathing life into distressed property please join us here: http://thehousecrowd.com/thehousecrowd/invest-in-property/)