Countrywide welcomes Mark Prisk as the new Housing Minister


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

UK's largest estate agent calls on new housing minister to be the "game changer" for the housing market.

Commenting on the appointment of Mark Prisk as Housing Minister, Grenville Turner, Chief Executive of Countrywide, the UK's largest property services Group, said:

"Countrywide welcomes the appointment of Mark Prisk as the new Housing Minister, following Grant Schapps move to Chairman of the Conservative Party. 

"As the UK's largest estate agency and property services group, we see first hand how the market is performing and the message remains that more needs to be done to help individuals buy and rent their own homes and as a result help the UK economy. We call on the new housing minister to view the health of the housing market as a priority and demonstrate this view through his actions and policy decisions.

"As we have said on many occasions to date, we believe the government needs to act quickly and progress reforms which address the key issues affecting the housing market - deposit affordability and the shortage of appropriate housing stock at the right price in the right location.

"The Government needs to look at mortgage lending and should set minimum and meaningful mortgage lending targets to ensure more appropriate credit is made available to first-time buyers - a key driver for the rest of the housing market. 

"We call for the structure of the UK house building sector and restrictive planning laws to be reviewed. Also, steps should also be taken to ensure house prices are aligned with people's wages, which would allow more people move out of private rented and social housing accommodation to becoming home owners - a key aspiration for many [1]. "

"In addition, stamp Duty for sub-£250,000 properties should be removed in order to boost housing market activity at a time where higher deposits are required to obtain a mortgage, as only 13% of Stamp Duty comes from properties worth less than £250,000[2].

"As we sell almost 1 in 10 of all residential properties in the UK and are the business that rents the most homes to people, we have a fundamental interest in a healthy and robust housing market, not  the boom and bust model. As such, we look forward to the chance to present our ideas to Mr Prisk and discussing these proposals and the housing market in more detail."


[1] Only a third (32%) of private rental tenants are 'happy where they are.

Countrywide /You Gov Plc Survey. Total sample size was 6215 adults, of which 327 had bought a home in the last two years. Fieldwork was undertaken 13th - 19th March 2012.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

[2] Source: Council of Mortgage Lender

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