Industry calls for housing minister stability

The property industry has appealed for stability after yet another housing minister was appointed last week.

Esther McVey held the role of housing minister for just seven months before being replaced by Christopher Pincher (pictured), the 10th housing minister since 2010.

The role of housing minister isn’t a cabinet one, meaning ministers tend to use it as a stepping stone for higher profile roles in government.

Philip Kelvin, head of strategy at online mortgage broker, Trussle, was scathing about the latest ministerial change, though he wished Pincher well.

He said: “The revolving door at Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government has always moved quickly but now appears to be on the cusp of spinning out of control, following the departure of Esther McVey as housing minister.

“Ms McVey was in the role for just seven months, and as a result the UK now has its 19th housing minister in just two years – a worrying statistic considering the crucial role this ministry plays.

“We wish Christopher Pincher well as the new housing minister.

“This is a pivotal role in the government that could really help establish meaningful support for first-time buyers, following the end of the Help To Buy ISA scheme at the end of last year.

“We really hope to see Mr. Pincher bringing much needed innovation to the sector.”

Franz Doerr, founder and chief executive of flatfair, said he hoped the appointment would finally bring some stability.

He said: “I want to welcome Christopher Pincher to the housing ministry, and hope that they can bring stability to a vital government post.

“We hope that he continues to recognise the importance of driving a fairer and more effective rental market and commit to leveraging the latest technology to find solutions to the issues faced by millions of renters and homeowners across the country.”

Similarly Mary-Anne Bowring, group managing director of Ringley, said: “Christopher Pincher needs to bring with him a sense of real energy and commitment and Boris Johnson would do well to keep them on for the long-term.

“Without stability at the top, the government risks sleepwalking into multiple crises, as issues around fire safety and leasehold reform remain unresolved, while the continued squeeze on buy-to-let landlords threatens to make renting even more unaffordable for many.

“The housing minister is not only a custodian of the safety of the current housing stock, but must be brave enough to think what future living is going to be as the lines between work and life continue to blur.

“Homes must provide shelter, but happy homes make for better mental health and if trends continue and housing is to be inhabited rather than owned then the lines of work and life and fun must blur.”

Kate Davies, executive director at the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association, seemed to take some encouragement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s approach.

She said: “From HS2 to the murmurings about a Boris Bridge, this administration is clearly thinking ‘big’ and taking a long-term view on major capital projects.

“This could bode well for some long-overdue and coherent long-term strategic thinking on housing policy – and we look forward to hearing the plans of the new Housing Minister, Christopher Pincher, and to encouraging him to bring some of that big thinking to the table.

“Addressing the challenges facing borrowers, whether they are first-time buyers or downsizers, requires a long-term strategy that provides housing across all property types and tenures.

“Now that the essential ‘in/out’ element of the Brexit debate is behind us, we would urge the government to make the most of its strong majority and ability to deliver on a wider range of promises and projects.”