Housing market 'needs reform by government'

The number of new homes being built nust be increased by government reform of planning law and social housing arrangements, it is claimed today.

A report by the Policy Exchange think-tank warns that Britain's housing market is failing because the average house now costs £160,000 – 120 per cent more than in 1995 – and the proportion of people owning their homes is falling for the first time since 1918.

It recommends reforms that would allow residents to vote on local developments and earn rewards for plans approved, and calls for the renewal of right-to-buy schemes for social housing tenants by putting all new tenants on a "path to ownership". Up to £20bn of public money could be saved, according to Policy Exchange, and its proposals could enable all working families to buy a house by 2030.