A one-page synopsis of ‘The House Price Solution’, especially for newcomers

There are two aspects. The first is about how to make all local housing markets across Britain work like free-market economic models.

This would involve replacing estate agency as we know it with a new, better and properly licensed service which I am calling Residential Housing Agents or (RHAs). This is the first radical change. These buyer and renter-advising agents would primarily work for buyers and renters instead of for sellers, as happens at present.

Individual RHAs working with clients would need to have gained an approved new qualification showing their level of competence. The reason for this is that the existing estate agency service breaks the economic market rules and generally talks prices up. This skews all residential property marketplaces by over-valuing most of the individual houses and flats. This is a fundamental misrepresentation and is damaging all the housing marketplaces.

What is needed instead is a service that records all genuine offers (whether to buy or to rent), and immediately submits these to the relevant vendor (or the landlord for rentals), for consideration. After the decision is made and one of the offers is accepted by the vendor or the landlord, the RHA handling this will arrange for a pre-worded lock-out agreement or contract with that vendor as well as with their legal adviser such that they all agree not to accept any other offer for the agreed period of time that it should take for the conveyancing to be concluded (or the tenancy agreement if its a letting).

Once the sale or letting is completed in this way, the RHA would collect their fee from the satisfied buyer or renter, via the solicitor dealing with completing the transaction (or from the landlord if appropriate).

The second radical change, deals with the town and country planning rules relating to residential property. What it proposes is the substantial change necessary to make the best and most efficient use of all housing units, whether already built, or yet to be constructed.

A main reason for this is that housing is in great demand as well as in unprecedentedly short supply. As a result, each viable existing housing unit should be zoned within the local Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP), such that whenever that property becomes vacant (and/or changes hands), the appropriate NDP zoning for that house or flat must take effect. For example, if the house was previously used as a second home, but it has subsequently become zoned on the NDP for local housing use, then after the vacation of the property, the new use must comply with the current NDP zoning. Enforcement action could follow wherever this is not the case.

Clearly, because it is the local town or parish council that draws up local NDPs, the best organisation to administer this would be that same one. I therefore propose that all residential planning decisions should therefore be devolved to each local town or parish council to determine them exclusively and in accord with their adopted NDP.

This would mean the existing arrangements for regional councils to decide such planning applications would no longer be needed, which is a third radical change, this one designed to speed up planning decisions.

As a result, there would be no need for government planning inspectors to deal with residential planning appeals centrally. In other words there would be no need for an appeal process for individual residential planning matters anymore. This would save inordinate amounts of time as well as great expense and bring clarity as to exactly which use designation each residential property should have, for the benefit of the town or parishes’ local housing economy primarily of course.

For more on this please follow the link below:

The house price affordability crisis

Posted by: Peter Hendry, Housing Valuation Consultant

Author of:– The House Price Solution, otherwise known as The Hendry Solution.

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