Bishop of St Albans calls for more home building, less land banking

St Albans 2On 15th September 2016 Lord Kennedy of Southwark asked Her Majesty’s Government “what action they are taking to reverse the decline in home ownership.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, while the price of land continues to increase so rapidly, landowners have much less incentive for immediate development, particularly if they are negotiating with local authorities over their desire for more affordable housing requirements. Will Her Majesty’s Government take further steps to tackle land-banking, so that we can get more houses up more quickly?

 Lord Bourne of AberystwythMy Lords, the right reverend Prelate rightly draws attention to land-banking, which I have indicated before is a very real issue. We are looking on a weekly basis at the prices of land, post the Brexit vote. A levelling off of prices is indicated but it is too early to draw many conclusions. One consequence if prices are levelling off is that it will make it easier to tackle the problem of housebuilding.