Curo Chief Executive Victor da Cunha dusts off the Curo crystal ball to make some bold housing predictions for 2018:
1. Tougher fire safety standards in all housing sectors:
First up has to be tighter building regulations concerning fire safety in all sectors, not just social housing, with Homes England (the new HCA) stepping up its regulatory interest in fire safety arrangements in social housing.
2. A continued focus on the demand side for housing:
I would like to see the Government providing real capital subsidy for genuinely affordable homes, but there’s no sign of movement there. If that doesn’t start to happen, it’s inevitable that the imbalance between supply and demand for homes will continue.
3. A climb-down on the Voluntary Right to Buy and Starter Homes policies:
There’s every chance that the Government will dismantle both policies. If so, I’m not expecting any big announcement. Watch that space... closely.
4. Greater emphasis on tenants’ voices in social housing:
Post-Grenfell, there's going to be more attention paid, rightly, to resident engagement in social housing with increased regulatory expectations about how Boards demonstrate they are listening to their tenants.
5. House prices continue to rise despite Brexit:
House prices and rents in the private rental sector will continue to increase in our South West region between 1% and 3%.
6. Regional Mayors hold the ring on housing:
Regional Mayors will have an increasing role in housing supply, including our own West of England Mayor, with the potential for housing funding to be transferred from Homes England to regional mayors in the longer term.
7. And lastly, the perennial housing curse… another new housing minister:
When I first penned this blog I wrote that a new housing minister will be announced. That prediction didn't take long to be realised. Unfortunately that means all the foundation work Alok Sharma has done now can’t be delivered by him. Let's hope for some stability and continuity as we welcome and forge strong links with our new minister.