The current housing policy requires urgent reform. It is 13 years old and past its sell-by date.
The local housing market has stagnated, with record numbers of houses for sale, but people unable to get the finance needed to buy. Something has to be done now.
We need to support our first time buyers. If we don’t, we are likely to see our young local talent leave Guernsey. I believe we need a loan deposit or guarantee scheme, coupled with longer term solutions, such as a Guernsey savings and loans bank that make finance more available.
We must also support our more elderly citizens and those with additional needs, whether it be to convert their homes so they can live in them for as long as possible, develop purpose-built extra-care or sheltered housing, or ensure we have good quality nursing and residential care homes.
What I’ve been doing…….
I have been an outspoken critic of the current housing policy throughout the last term.
I laid a successful amendment in 2014 to get the Housing Department and Treasury and Resources Department to look at the possible options for first time buyer schemes. The subsequent report was a huge disappointment, concluding that no schemes were acceptable, despite successes elsewhere.
This led to me laying a successful amendment that resulted in the commissioning of an independent broad-based review of the local housing market. I hope that this forms the basis of a new housing policy in the next term.
In the meantime, I am still pushing for support for first time buyers and have been working with others to look at how we can build confidence in the housing sector.