‘Silver Bullet’ Housing Policy Could Make Homeowners Millions, and Build More Beautiful Buildings

Policy Exchange has released a landmark paper that is being hailed as a silver bullet to solve the housing crisis. Conservationists and campaigners for lower rents all seem to like the proposal. The policy, which has received plaudits from all political stripes, has something for everyone – more beautiful buildings, more value for homeowners, and more brownfield buildings, leading to lower rents…

By allowing individual streets vote to give themselves planning permission – allowing them to turn themselves from bungalows or semis into terraces – more housing can be provided whilst protecting greenfield land and enriching current homeowners. Crucially, local design codes would allow popular Georgian and Victorian styles to spring up in the suburbs of British cities…

New modelling shows that the average homeowner who did take up the scheme could make hundreds of thousands, or even millions of pounds, depending on where they live – after building costs and costs of finance. One worked example in the paper shows how a post war cul de sac in Barnet could voluntarily decide to uplift. This would transform the 26 bungalows worth £14 million in total, to be given an additional £54 million in uplift, £10 million of which goes to the council, £44m of which goes to the homeowners (£1.7 million each)…

Economist Sam Bowman tells Guido that the policy could solve the housing crisis by unusually making everyone a winner:

“This is the silver bullet that could solve the housing crisis – unlike almost all other proposals, this one works by enriching existing homeowners when they allow more homes to be built. The solution to this decades-long problem is to make it a win/win for people who own their own homes and people who want to. If the government goes ahead with these plans it could make Thatcher’s right-to-buy look like a drop in the ocean in terms of increasing homeownership in Britain.”

Read the landmark new ‘Strong Suburbs’ paper in full by clicking here…

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